Published Quarterly By


An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind



KABVI strives to increase the independence, opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired Kansans, and to assist us in taking our rightful place as equals among our sighted peers.


Volume 54                      Fall, 2011                                 No. 3





Corporate Office, 603 SW Topeka Blvd. Suite 304

Topeka, Kansas 66603

Telephone:  785-235-8990 or,

in Kansas only, 1-800-799-1499

E-mail:  kabvi@att.net    

Web site:  www.kabvi.com


Editor,                                            Associate Editor

Nancy Johnson                             Ann Byington

714 SW Wayne Ave.                       909 SW College

Topeka, KS 66606                           Topeka, KS  66606

(785) 234-8449                                785) 233-3839

Supermom1941@sbcglobal.net      abyington@cox.net


Chairman of the Board and President

Ann Byington

909 SW College Avenue

Topeka KS 66606

(785) 233-3839




Membership Secretary, KABVI


         The purpose of KABVI NEWS, published by the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc. (KABVI), is to promote the general welfare of the blind and visually impaired in Kansas.  KABVI NEWS shall reflect the philosophy and policies of the Association, report the activities of its members, and include pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision. 
         Publication Policy:  Send us your news, views, articles, and features.  Materials in braille, on tape, on computer disk (Microsoft Word, plain text, or ASCII), or typewritten (double-spaced) will be considered.   When quoting from other published materials, please include dates and sources.  Unsigned material will not be considered for publication.  If you send a stamped, self-addressed envelope, original materials will be returned.  Articles for publication must reach the editor by January 22, April 22, July 22, and October 22 of each year.  Editorial staff reserves the right to edit submitted materials. 
         Membership renewal letters are sent annually to persons who have not paid dues.  If responses are not received within a reasonable time, names of those persons will be removed from KABVI’s mailing list and their subscription to KABVI NEWS discontinued.  Membership is open to anyone who is interested but is not required for receipt of KABVI NEWS.  A membership renewal form on which you can indicate your newsletter preferences can be found at the end of each issue.  Thank you for your cooperation.



Table of Contents

What’s Happening?  By Ann Byington, President,

Notions, by Nancy Johnson, Editor

How to Participate in the State Wide Conference Calls August 27 and September 24, 3:00 p.m.

Legislative Wrap-up 2011, By Michael Byington

Report from the Board of Directors, By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary

Proclamation by the Governor

The Current State of Cell Phone Accessibility – By Darren Burton, Access World

Youth News, By Nancy Johnson, Youth Activities Chair

Access to Fitness, By Tara Annis and Lee Huffman

David Bruce Joins Other KABVI Members Who Have Traveled to the Next Life, by Michael Byington

Chapter Chatter, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

Tantalizing Tidbits, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

In Memoriam, Compiled by Nancy Johnson

2011 Membership Application



By Ann Byington, President

2011 Annual Convention:  This year’s convention will again be held at Envision, 610 N. Main, Wichita, KS Friday, October 28 afternoon and evening, through Sunday morning, October 30.  We have hotel rooms reserved at the Holiday Inn and Suites Downtown, 221 E. Kellogg, phone: (316) 269-2090.  Rates are $82 per night, single king or two double beds.  This rate DOES NOT include breakfast but it is available onsite. The cutoff date for these rooms is September 30.  The hospitality room for Friday/Saturday evenings will be in the hotel as well as the Sunday morning Board meeting which is open to guests, though the room will seat only 20 comfortably.  Plans are not finalized regarding meals, but we will try to go back to Spear’s restaurant as they did an excellent job last year.

Our ACB representative this year is Executive Director, Melanie Brunson.  She will be returning from Phoenix after attending the fall meeting of the National Council of State Agencies Serving the Blind. 

We are still planning presentations so be sure to read your pre-registration materials thoroughly.  A visit to the Envision Everyday Store is in the works, as well as demonstrations of the Trekker Breeze and the Kapten Plus, the newest and least expensive arrival in the talking GPS arena.

Midwest Leadership Conference:  Colleen Talley, KABVI’s Resource and Office Manager; Marilyn Lind, board member; Nancy Johnson, Ann and Michael Byington, officers; and Linda Bricker and her husband, Clyde, KABVI members will be attending the Midwest Leadership Conference, August 19-21.  We will be traveling to St. Louis and will bring back to you new insights into ACB, fundraising, conducting meetings, membership recruitment and much more.

Monthly Conference Calls:  For some time, I have been struggling to improve KABVI’s leadership involvement with you, our statewide membership.  I want to share material/ideas gained through attending the American Council of the Blind convention, update you on what folks are doing locally as well as here in Topeka, but most importantly, I need to hear from you concerning what KABVI should be doing for you.  With that in mind, KABVI has an account with a conference-calling provider, which will allow us to schedule calls on demand, record calls for later playback and/or download to a computer, and include up to twenty-five people on the call.  A few minutes before 3:00 PM, dial 1-(712) 432-6100 and when asked to do so, Enter the Pass Code 126083 followed by # (pound sign key) which is usually located at the bottom right-hand key of your phone dial next to the zero.  That’s all you need to do!  !  If the conference is not in session, the system will put you on hold until the moderator arrives.  PLEASE come and join us at 3:00 on August 27 and September 24, 2011. 

New Website for Youth:  At some point during the convention, our new Youth Connection website, www.kabviyouthconnection.com, will be demonstrated. Even if you’re not into computers, you will want to help us determine what this underserved group of potential members wants as well as how KABVI can better involve them and their parents in ongoing activities/issues of interest to blind/visually impaired kansans.  If all goes according to plan, we will have the website up and available by October 1. 

Computer/Equipment Recycling Program:  With the help of Jon Marcotte and Carolyn Thomason and previous planning and work done by Mikel McCary, our computer-recycling project is underway.  By convention time, we should have computers ready to send out to those already on the waiting list.  We are requesting a $150 fee from recipients to pay for shipping and our storage space rent.  We should be able to provide a variety of screen-reading software demos as well as some large-print ones.  Look for further details in the next newsletter or call the KABVI office if you have questions. (See masthead for office contact information.)



By Nancy Johnson, Editor

       This issue of KABVI NEWS is crammed with a variety of helpful information, including information about cell phones, fitness, and a soon-to-be-launched website, www.kabviyouthconnection.com

       One concern I have is that, as the world becomes more and more dependent upon technology, particularly computers, people who, for a variety of reasons, do not have technology are being left behind in our attempts to communicate and grow as an organization.  This doesn’t have to happen.  Most of us have telephones.  KABVI has held two statewide teleconferences.  Before the convention, two more will be held – August 27 and September 24.  This is your opportunity to make your wishes and ideas known.  Information about how to call is provided throughout this issue of KABVI NEWS. 

       Sometimes last year’s convention seems a long time ago and at other times, it seems it was not long.  During our annual meeting and convention, we look at where we’ve been and where we’re going.  What have we accomplished, and what have we yet to do? 

       We now have an office manager.  Our projects all continue, albeit moving slowly.  Services to people who are blind and severely visually impaired are available, though exactly who does what and how are questions to be answered. 

       KABVI has a mission, printed on the cover of every issue of KABVI NEWS.  We say, “KABVI strives to increase the independence, opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired Kansans, and to assist us in taking our rightful place as equals among our sighted peers.”  What, precisely, does that mean?  What plans do we have to at least help make it happen?

       I tend to be a goal-oriented person who needs a destination.  We have the destination.  It’s a long trip.  Do we have a map?  If we don’t, we need to begin to create one. 


How to Participate in the State Wide Conference Calls August 27 and September 24, 3:00 p.m.

A little before 3:00, call 1-712-432-6100.

At the prompt, enter the participant pass code - 126083# (pound sign key on your telephone)

If the conference is not in session, the system will put you on hold until the moderator arrives.

During the Conference -

Press *3 – Exit Conference

Press *4 – Help Menu

Press *6 – Mute Individual Line

Please join us!


Legislative Wrap-up 2011

By Michael Byington

       Editor’s Note:  This information should have appeared in the Summer issue of KABVI NEWS but did not reach the editor’s desk in time because of technical issues. 

       Before discussing the issues, I want to offer some words of thanks to a number of our volunteers, and particularly to President Ann Byington, and Office staff, Colleen Tally. During some years over recent KABVI history, I, in the capacity of C.E.O., President, or Legislative Chair, have been very much out front as the person representing KABVI before the Kansas Legislature. While I remain your Legislative Chair, I have been living in Wichita during most of this Legislative Session while working on an internship toward my Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist credential. Even when I return to Topeka, to work as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist in the northeast area of the State, I will not have the flexibility of schedule to be the usual person at the Capitol presenting KABVI’s testimony. My work will continue to be much more behind the scenes, helping do research, write testimony, etc. Your President, Ann Byington, has usually been KABVI’s voice at the Capitol during this Legislative session, and despite the fact that this has been, in many ways, a frustrating year, Ann is good at this work, I suspect much better at it than she thought she would be. Her dog guide, Hansel, also tries to help influence Legislators, and he is usually pretty pleasant and winning in his ways even though he did try to jump up and kiss Governor Brownback the other day.  

       This year, KABVI worked mainly on two issues at the Kansas Capitol. We made some progress on both, but I really cannot tell the readers how either issue will come out for sue at this writing.

       At its convention last year, KABVI’s membership present altered our position concerning some aspects of our work on making sure that voting in Kansas continues to be accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. We were directed not to oppose mandatory showing of a photo identification in order to vote. Our membership felt that, although it is an inconvenience for Kansas residents who are blind and visually impaired to obtain the State photo identification, it is an act of good citizenship to do so, and that KABVI should not oppose the use of such an identification when going to the polls to vote. Consistent with the actions of our membership, we made this position known to the Legislative committees working on voter eligibility reforms. The Legislation which was proposed by the Secretary of State’s office, however, and which ultimately passed, will make it much more difficult to register to vote, and in its amended and adopted form, will make it necessary as of 2013 to provide written proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. Needless to say, finding written proof of citizenship will be very difficult for many blind and visually impaired Kansans. The KABVI Board of Directors thus directed that we express our changed position, and support for the identification requirement, but continue to advocate that voter registration requirements remain as previously set forth in Kansas law. While we did not win this point, the Legislature did agree to set the new voter registration requirements back a couple of years. This was done over the rather strident objection of our new Secretary of State. It was done to give some time for further scrutiny of the new requirements, and hopefully they can be moderated during the 2012 or 2013 Legislative sessions.

       The other issue that KABVI worked on was keeping the Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI) open. KABVI has taken this position because many multiply disable blind citizens reside at KNI. Some of these individuals who are able to express their own views, and the guardians of many others, have told us that they do not want the facility to close. Though severely multiply disabled blind, many of the KNI residents who are of concern to us, have jobs in the community, and have good supports at KNI, while living in small residential units. For many of these individuals, KNI is not an institution; it is a home like environment that it is their choice to remain in. Also, some blind employees at KNI would likely lose their jobs if the facility closes. These are productive, proactive employees who serve the taxpayers of the State of Kansas well, but who would be unable to go from small residence to small residence in the larger communities to work with the former KNI residents as is proposed.  Lastly, guardians and physicians working with several blind, very severely multiply disabled KNI residents tell us that the medical care at KNI for these individuals is so very specialized that they feel these individuals would likely die in community-based settings. The Legislature did ultimately forestall the closure of KNI, but the issue may not be over. After all, the Kansas Legislature decided not to close the Kansas Arts Commission, but Governor Brownback has vowed to simply line item veto the Arts Commission staff positions when he goes through the budget, and he vows that, despite the intent of the Legislature, he will close the Arts Commission. Legally, nothing would prevent him from engaging in the same type of actions with regard to KNI. It is thus impossible to predict the final outcome of this one at this point. 


Report from the Board of Directors

By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary

The meeting of the board of directors of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired July 30, 2011, at the KABVI corporate offices.  Present were eight directors and the Office Manager.

Jon Marcotte was introduced as a new Board member replacing Donna Sanborn, who resigned as Board member and Vice President earlier in the year. Jon was appointed to complete Ms. Sanborn’s term through a remote vote by e-mail and telephone.

Carolyn Thomason and Jon Marcotte will work on computer renovations in the office. Ms. Thomason offered some time on several days per week. Mr. Marcotte will work out of the KABVI office and will supervise the office computer operations. A new volunteer, Tristan Derichsweiller, will give one day per month. He is skilled in hardware repair, memory installation, etc.

Our Office Assistant, Brandon Bruton, is doing a good job of updating the membership database.  There still may be some problems with the cassette mailing list.  Our national affiliated organization, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) is developing a national database that we can opt to use for membership maintenance.  This could make our membership reporting to ACB easier.  KABVI would still have to maintain a database for the State because our database contains non-members who receive the newsletter or other materials.  No decision was made regarding KABVI’s opting into ACB’s database.

KABVI still needs to pay office rent out of this year’s budget.  The golf tournament registrations were up this year, and Vehicle Donation Program funds were up this year.  Despite some positives in the Treasurer’s report, we are still spending money faster than we are raising it and the organization needs to put even more efforts on fundraising if we are going to sustain our current level of services and activities. Anna Bricker, daughter of our member, Linda Bricker, sponsored a golf tournament that provided revenue for KABVI’s youth activities. The exact amount of her contribution is not yet known. 

The Kansas Services for the Blind Advisory Committee meeting recently scheduled July 14, conflicted with the ACB National Convention.  Last year, the meeting was scheduled opposite the national meetings of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) so their appointee to the Committee was unable to attend that meeting. Several comments were made concerning the insensitive and irresponsible nature of State officials in scheduling meetings opposite major consumer group meetings.  No report has come from the July 14 meeting. Opinions were expressed that this group was resulting in no benefit to anyone, and it was asked how this useless group came to exist.  The explanation is that KABVI introduced Legislation asking that a Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired be created with parallel authority to the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Michael Donnelly, Director of Rehabilitation Services, did not want the blind and visually impaired of Kansas to have this level of planning authority and input, and although he claimed to be neutral on the issue, sabotaged the legislative efforts.  The Legislation received hearings, but stalled.  Governor Parkinson attempted to help KABVI with its efforts by introducing an executive order that there must be an advisory committee to Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, but he had Michael Donnelly write the provisions for this body, and Donnelly wrote them in a manner so that the Committee would have the degree of authority and effectiveness that Donnelly wanted, which is none.  The Legislation for a Commission for the Blind and Visually impaired paralleling the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing needs to be re-introduced, but if any purpose in doing so during the coming legislative session exists remains to be considered. More research is needed because there is no purpose in going through the same motions only to experience the same defeat.

A regional ACB leadership conference is scheduled for August 19-21. The KABVI Board approved participation. Linda Bricker, Clyde Bricker, Colleen Talley, Marilyn Lind, Nancy Johnson, Ann Byington and Michael Byington plan to participate.  If someone is not able to attend, Jon Marcotte may replace that individual. 

Ann Byington is establishing monthly call-in hours. Any organizational leader or member is invited to participate.  Conference calls were held in June and July, but they were not promoted well enough to garner much interest.  Calls are scheduled the third Saturday of each month, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Additional information about how to call is available in the newsletter and on the web site.  Ann Byington may provide summaries of presentations from the ACB convention as a part of the office hours calls. Members and prospective participants are encouraged to call or e-mail in advance with topics for discussion. It was suggested that Paul Berscheidt, our web master be asked to set up a KABVI listserv through which The Office Hour meetings can be promoted.    Suggestions for descriptive titles other than “Office Hours” are welcome. 

KABVI will participate in the Assistive Technology for Kansas exhibits, the Leavenworth Senior Free, and several other trade shows.  

A grant written to Envision attempts to help continue funding for Ms. Talley’s information and resource activities and for the Braille and Archival Center on Kansas Blind.

Members can check out some of the presentations on ACB radio.  The ACB resolutions define ACB policy and are worth listening to on ACB radio as well.

We have not had as many scholarship applicants as Board members believe we should have had.

Ann Byington is attempting to schedule follow-up contacts with scholarship winners and members who have not renewed to see what they are doing, discuss their interest in KABVI, and to encourage continuing participation.

People with ideas or information of interest are encouraged to send items for KABVI NEWS as soon as they find them. Waiting until the last minute may result in their not being included.  Deadlines are the 21st of January, April, July, and October.  KABVI NEWS is your quarterly news magazine, and we want your contributions.  Just send your ideas to supermom1941@sbcglobal.net, identified for KABVI NEWS, and they will be saved and included whenever possible. 

Linda Bricker, Committee Member, helped the youth activities committee identify a web master, and they are putting up a website for blind and low vision youth. KABVI’s youth activity project now has its own logo.  The site should be up October 1 at www.kabviyouthconnection.com.  If you’re young at heart, check it out!

The KABVI Convention dates for this year are the 28th and 29th of October. The Board meeting will be on the 30th.  Melanie Brunson, Executive Director for ACB will be contacted as our ACB out-of-State speaker.

The Eyes Wide Open Golf Tournament made over $3,800.00. KABVI splits the take with the Lions, and KABVI’s share will be approximately $1,921.00. Work on next year’s tournament begins the week after the convention. KABVI hopes to field a team of blind golfers next year.

The Web Site Committee is: Jon Marcotte, Carolyn Thomason, Mikel McCary, and Colleen Talley.

Other issues related to the web site were tabled. They will be discussed when our Webmaster and Board member, Paul Berscheidt, can be present.

Jon Marcotte was elected unanimously to serve as vice president and board member to fill the slot vacated by the resignation of Donna Sanborn.  He will serve until the post convention Board meeting.

A lady from the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce contacted KABVI about scheduling future conventions in that venue. The City of McPherson also solicited KABVI’s business for future conventions. No decision was made about the site for the 2012 convention.

Board positions up for election at this coming convention are those held by Marilyn Lind, Bill Moore, Paul Berscheidt, and Terese Goren. Randi Grubbs of Hays is reportedly interested in running for a Board seat.

Kimberly Morrow, a former ACB and KABVI scholarship winner, is teaching a Braille Course at Johnson County Community College. Ms. Morrow asked that we help her get the word out.

The Governor signed a service dog recognition proclamation in July. Ann Byington and her dog guide Hansel represented KABVI membership there. She had the opportunity to discuss service dog etiquette with the Governor and explain that he really should not be petting the service dogs without asking permission of their handlers.

Note:  A huge “Thank you!” to Michael Byington, who provided minutes and information for this edition’s Report from the Board of Directors.


State of Kansas Proclamation by the Governor to the People of Kansas


WHEREAS; assistance dogs transform the lives of their human partners with physical and mental disabilities;

WHEREAS, they serve as devoted companions, helpers, aides, best friends and close family members;

WHEREAS; assistance dogs include service dogs, guide dogs, hearing alert dogs, and alert/seizure response dogs;

WHEREAS; guide dogs assist people with vision loss, leading these individuals around physical obstacles and to destinations such as seating, crossing streets, entering or exiting doorways, elevators and stairways; etc.;

WHEREAS; service dogs assist people with disabilities with walking, balance, dressing, transferring from place to place, retrieving and carrying items, opening doors and drawers, pushing buttons, pulling wheelchairs and aiding with household chores such as putting in and removing clothes from the washer and dryer;

WHEREAS; hearing alert dogs alert people with a hearing loss to the presence of specific sounds such as doorbells, telephones, crying babies, sirens, another person, buzzing timers or sensors, knocks at the door as well as smoke; fire and clock alarms;

WHEREAS; seizure alert/seizure response dogs alert or respond to medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attacks, anxiety attack, post –traumatic stress disorder;

WHEREAS; International Assistance Dog Week, August 7-13, 2011, provides an opportunity for us to raise awareness of the selfless way all types of assistance dogs assist individuals with mitigating their disability-related limitations; and

WHEREAS, KSDS, Inc. is joining forces with assistance dog partners, organizations, and concerned citizens throughout Washington, Kansas, United States of America to raise awareness of assistance dogs and observe International Assistance Dog Week;

NOW; THEREFORE, I, Sam Brownback, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF KANSAS, do hereby proclaim the week of August 7th-13th of 2011, as

In Kansas and reaffirm this State’s commitment to respect, celebrate, and recognize assistance dogs and their partners this week and throughout the year in our community.

Done: At the Capitol of Topeka under the Great Seal of the State this 29th day of July, A.D. 2011


The Current State of Cell Phone Accessibility

By Darren Burton

I've been writing cell phone evaluation articles for AccessWorld for over eight years, and since this issue of AccessWorld is focusing on cell phone accessibility, I thought I'd better step up and have something to say. In this article, instead of detailing the accessibility of a particular phone, I'm going to give an overview of what I see as the current state of accessibility affairs in the mobile device world. Although I won't give a lot of detail about each phone I discuss, I will link to AccessWorld articles evaluating each phone where appropriate. I'll begin with the high end of the market, the smartphones that are in reality very powerful mobile computers. I will then cover the lower end of the market, the less powerful mobile phones, known as feature phones or message phones. I will also briefly detail what each of the four major national service providers have to offer as far as accessible devices. I will then provide some information about Access Wireless, a website created by The Wireless Association (CTIA) and the wireless industry to help people with disabilities, seniors, and their families find a cell phone and service.

Smartphones:  Smartphones are increasingly powerful mobile computing devices that also happen to be telephones. Mobile devices are much more powerful and feature-rich than the computers I used when I first got into the tech business 15 years ago, and their accessibility will be increasingly important as computing trends further and further away from the desktop. A great deal has changed in the smartphone market since I first began detailing their accessibility in 2003. Phones running the Symbian operating system, manufactured mainly by Nokia, were the first to allow for the installation of third party access software. Nuance's TALKS and Code Factory's Mobile Speak screen readers, along with their screen magnifier counterparts, came on the scene in 2003 and 2004 and provided expensive but highly effective access to Symbian smartphones. Though these software products are still available, the Symbian phones themselves are becoming less available in the U.S. market. That's because Nokia, the main manufacturer of Symbian phones, recently announced a move away from Symbian towards Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform.

This brings us to Microsoft Windows smartphones. Beginning with the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system through version 6.5, Windows-based smartphones supported a compatible version of Mobile Speak and a screen reader from Dolphin called Smart Hal. However, as we reported in our December 2010 issue, the 2010 release of Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system does not support any screen readers, and phones built on that operating system have no built-in accessibility to support people with vision loss. Although Microsoft has promised to remedy that situation, in the meantime our choices are limited by this shortcoming.

Although Nokia is moving away from Symbian and new Windows phones are not an option, you can still find some Symbian phones and older Windows phones at various online retailers. You can also buy Symbian phones with the KNFB Reader software for reading print material at www.KNFBReader.com. It's just not very likely that you will find a Symbian phone at your local mobile phone store these days.

The iPhone:  AccessWorld readers familiar with my articles on Apple's products know I am a huge fan of the iPhone. Its built-in Voiceover screen reader and Zoom magnification feature, as well as its compatibility with wireless braille displays, are unparalleled in the mobile device landscape. Now available from both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, I highly recommend the iPhone to our readers who want a mobile device that is both powerful and fully accessible. Mine rarely leaves my side, as I use it as a Web browser, book reader, music player, and to keep up with my e-mail. With all the third party apps available, such as money identifiers, GPS tools, and bar code scanners, there seem to be unlimited possibilities for the iPhone. We're also seeing early optical character recognition (OCR) apps, and I hear that a Bookshare app is right around the corner.

There is certainly a bit of learning to be done when you first try to use the iPhone's touch screen interface, but it's not as daunting as some may think. I definitely found it easier to learn to use than I did my PC screen reader. I will have to admit though, that the actual phone feature itself is probably the most difficult to use, especially when interacting with one of those annoying voicemail systems that require you to press 1 for customer service and 2 for tech support, etc. That said, it does work if you have some patience and use a headset, and all the other benefits of the iPhone make it worth it.

Android Phones:  Although my May 2010 AccessWorld article evaluating Android accessibility was not entirely positive, it was cautiously optimistic about the future. That optimism may prove well-placed as several improvements were announced by Google's Eyes-Free Project in 2011. Those improvements include the addition of a talking on-screen keyboard and an accessible virtual D-pad for easier navigation through apps. This is extremely important, as Android phones with physical QWERTY keyboards, D-pads, or track balls are becoming rare.

You can also read about Code Factory's new Mobile Accessibility software for Android phones in J.J. Meddaugh's article in this issue of AccessWorld. Mobile Accessibility provides a screen reader and a suite of accessible apps that includes a Web browser, an e-mail app, and a calendar.

These developments are certainly encouraging, because Android phones are becoming more and more ubiquitous and several manufacturers are building Android phones. You can find them at every service provider, not just AT&T and Verizon (the only iPhone carriers). It still takes a bit of tech ability to figure out how to activate and use Android's accessibility features and software.

BlackBerry:  My May 2010 review of the Oratio screen reader for BlackBerry smartphones found it to be a solid product that provides access to most of the phone's features and functions. However, it was—and according to Humanware's website, still is—compatible with only one BlackBerry phone. Also, its $449 price tag keeps many in the vision loss community from embracing it. However, for people whose employment situation requires the use of a BlackBerry, Oratio is a viable option.

For people with low vision, BlackBerry phones offer display themes that feature higher contrast and larger fonts, and an upcoming issue of AccessWorld will feature an article reviewing the new BlackBerry "Clarity" display theme targeted at their customers with visual impairments.

Feature Phones:  I realize not everyone is interested in a smartphone, and I do hear from AccessWorld readers who say, "I just want an accessible basic phone, and I don't want to be bothered by all the bells and whistles of smartphones." I also often hear concerns over the extra data download costs associated with using a smartphone. There are a handful of phones with speech output in the lower-end feature phone (or message phone) category. These phones are not compatible with electronic braille displays, but they often do have at least some features that would benefit a person with low vision.

Two phones that fit into this category are available from Verizon Wireless: the Samsung Haven and the LG Accolade. Morgan Blubaugh and Tara Annis review the Accolade in this issue of AccessWorld, and we reviewed the Haven in November 2010. The LG Lotus, available from Sprint, is a very similar phone to the LG Accolade. The Pantech Breeze II, available from AT&T, has some speech support and features that will assist a person with low vision, but the Contact List and Caller ID do not have speech output. AT&T also offers some LG phones with speech output, but they are not as robust as the LG phones I mentioned from Verizon and Sprint. Also available is the Jitterbug J phone, which is aimed at seniors and people with low vision. We reviewed the latest version of the Jitterbug last month. Another option for a basic feature phone with large keys is the Snap-On ez ONE, sold by Independent Living Aids and described in AccessWorld News in our May 2010 issue.

The "Big Four" Service Providers.  I thought it would be helpful to include a round-up of what each of the four national service providers (AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile) has to offer as far as accessible devices. I also include the address for each service provider's accessibility webpage.

AT&T:  AT&T was the first to offer the very accessible iPhone, and it continues to do so. In addition to the latest model, the iPhone 4, AT&T also offers the iPhone 3G S at a discounted price of $49. Some Symbian phones and older Windows Mobile phones, along Mobile Speak and Mobile Magnifier software from Code Factory at a discounted price. AT&T has several Android phones available and we hope the company will also offer Code Factory's new Mobile Accessibility screen reader for Android phones for customers with vision loss. You can call AT&T's National Center for Customers with Disabilities at (866) 241-6568 to learn more.

In terms of feature phones, as mentioned earlier AT&T offers the Breeze 2, along with LG phones that have some speech output. In general, speech support for AT&T LG phones is not as complete as that of the LG phones offered by Verizon. You can learn more about AT&T's products and services for people with disabilities on their accessibility site.

Verizon Wireless:  In early 2011, to the delight of many of their customers with vision loss, Verizon Wireless began offering the iPhone, with the same accessibility features as the AT&T iPhone. The only difference we've found between the phones offered by these two providers is that you can't browse the Web via the cellular network while on a call on the Verizon phone. You can, however, browse the Web while on a call if you have an active WiFi connection. Verizon also still offers the "TALKS™ for Verizon Wireless" screen reader at a discounted price for the HTC Ozone, a Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone. Verizon also offers several Android phones, but has not yet announced any plans to subsidize Mobile Speak for Android.

Verizon Wireless has long been the lead service provider for accessible feature phones, beginning with the LG VX 4500 that we evaluated in the May 2005 issue of AccessWorld. The previously mentioned LG Accolade is the latest phone from Verizon with a similar level of speech output, and Verizon also offers the LG enV 3, with similar speech output in a QWERTY keyboard model. Verizon's Samsung Haven is a basic phone with speech output that supports every single feature on the phone.

You can learn more about Verizon's products and services for people with disabilities on the Verizon accessibility site.

Sprint:  Sprint offers several Android phones, but does not cover the cost for Mobile Speak. As far as feature phones, Sprint's LG Lotus has accessibility features similar to the other LG phones I've mentioned. Sprint also offers the Motorola i580 and i880, which provide speech output for several features. Visit Sprint's accessibility site to learn more.

T-Mobile:  T-Mobile has not made much effort to comply with federal mandates to accommodate people with vision loss. The company has never offered discounts on screen readers for smartphones, nor has it offered any meaningful accessibility in the feature phones it carries. I was unable to find anything on the T-Mobile website regarding accessibility. Those of you who read the financial pages may have heard of the proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, and if the merger does go through, we can only hope that the merged company continues AT&T's accessibility practices, not those of T-Mobile.

Access Wireless:  Access Wireless was created by CTIA and the wireless industry to help people with disabilities, seniors, and their families find a cell phone and service. Although I found no problems with the accessibility of the website, it did not strike me as particularly useful to people with vision loss. The site does have some general information about phone features that accommodate people with vision loss, but there is no guidance provided to help you find a particular phone with those features. Access Wireless's phone-finding tool is called Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI.) GARI is an accessible database, though it does not include most of the phones I've mentioned in this article. Also, most of the phones GARI does come up with for people with vision loss are not phones I would recommend to my readers. Although Access Wireless and GARI are great ideas, their implementation needs refinement and more manufacturers need to take part for the site to be truly useful. Responding to input from people with disabilities and the organizations that represent them would also go a long way towards making the tools useful.

Not everyone in the disability community shares my thoughts about Access Wireless, and we are interested in our reader's thoughts about the effectiveness of this website.

The Bottom Line:  I've seen significant improvement in mobile phone accessibility over the past eight years, but we still have a way to go. As it stands, I can't say that the industry has fully complied with the spirit of federal accessibility mandates. Obviously, Microsoft has to step up to the plate and develop real accessibility with the new phones it offers. If and when Microsoft does that, I hope the company will follow Apple's example and build in comprehensive accessibility to every device at no extra cost. We definitely don't want to have to carry any company's water and pay for third party software ourselves. Android is following the right model, and I hope eventually Android will provide the same level of accessibility and usability we have on the iPhone. I would also like to see the manufacturers step up and build more feature phones that are fully accessible.

Accessibility will only grow in importance as mobile devices get more powerful and mobile computing becomes an even more intricate part of our daily lives. We can only hope that industry truly embraces accessibility and fully complies with the spirit of federal accessibility mandates.

Burton, Darren, (June, 2011).  The Current State of Cell Phone Accessibility.  Access World, Vol. 12, No. 6.  Retrieved from http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw1206toc.


Youth News

By Nancy Johnson, Youth Committee Chair

       Progress is slow, but progress often is slow.  We are excited to have a new website in development.  If all goes well, the website will be ready to launch by October 1.  We plan to demonstrate it at the convention, but you will be able to check it out before then at www.kabviyouthconnection.com.  The domain name is purchased.  The Mission Statement is incorporated.  A cool logo is developed.  Layout is under development - being kept simple.  We hope to set up a site that will speak without a screen reader.  Links to Facebook and Twitter are coming.  Interactive elements Blogs, forums, and blackboards (message boards) are planned to make the website interactive for children, youth, parents, and the young at heart.  The site will be linked to www.kabvi.com, the organization’s official site.

The committee will have three opportunities to evaluate the site before it "goes live."  Present plans are to have an unveiling celebration at the convention, October 28-30 in Wichita at the Envision Vision Rehabilitation Center, 610 North Main St.  .  Young people and parents – this website is for you.  Please tell us what you’d like to see there.  Do you have a favorite accessible game or activity?  Is there a website you find exceptionally helpful?  What would you like to see out there?  E-mail suggestions and ideas to supermom1941@sbcglobal.net and put “KABVI Youth Website” as the subject so I won’t delete it if I don’t know you.  You can also send ideas using contact information at the front of this magazine.  Another way to share ideas is to join the newly established monthly conference calls, for which information is available in an article earlier in this issue of KABVI NEWS. 

Get your ideas back quickly so they can be incorporated - www.kabviyouthconnection.com is for you! 


Excerpted from Access to Fitness

Fitness FAQs from the Desk of AFB’s Information and Referral Specialist

By Tara Annis and Lee Huffman

Two sports in the United States, goalball and beep baseball, were created specifically for people with vision loss.  Goalball is a highly competitive sport similar to soccer.  Two teams of three players, each of whom is blindfolded, compete by rolling the goalball across the court, attempting to get it past the opposing team.  The USA Goalball website provides in-depth information on this sport, including instructions on joining the listserv, information on how to start a team, receive the newsletter, and official rules of the game.

Beep baseball is an adapted version of America's pastime, with some variations in the rules.  Each team has its own pitcher, there are only two bases, and there are usually six innings instead of nine.  All players are blindfolded, except the pitcher and catcher.  The game has evolved to the point of having a World Series.  Visit the National Beep Baseball Association's website for more information.

Participation in sports where kicking, throwing, and catching a ball or flying disc (Frisbee) is necessary are possible for people with vision loss, from those who are totally blind to those with some remaining vision.  Use products with auditory output, beneficial to those who are totally blind, and those with partial sight, who can use both hearing and remaining vision. Beginners can learn by slowing the movements using a balloon with seeds or other small objects placed inside before inflation to make the balloon rattle when thrown.

Vendors of adaptive products, and even some mainstream product manufacturers, sell balls and Frisbees that provide auditory feedback in the form of electronic beeping, music, bells, or objects that rattle inside the ball or Frisbee.  Beeping products come in various forms, offering varying degrees of pitch and volume, or the ability to turn off the beeper and use it as a traditional ball.  In addition to the basic football, soccer ball, and basketball, Frisbees, volleyballs, and tennis balls that make noise are available.  Make your own auditory ball by tying a plastic grocery bag around a standard ball. Believe it or not, this works well, allowing a blind person to catch a football thrown in a spiral, for example. 

People with some remaining vision can spray paint standard Frisbees and balls contrasting or fluorescent colors for better visibility. Several mainstream companies sell Frisbees and balls that glow in the dark and some that light up.

A Frisbee that has green lights called the Aerobie Skylighter (LED Lighted) Flying Disc is an example. Catch and throw light-up Frisbees in a low-light environment, allowing highest levels of contrast.  Search the Internet for phrases such as "lighted ball," "illuminated ball," or "glow-in-the dark ball".  Make your own glow-in-the-dark ball by wrapping glow tape, sold by vendors of adaptive products, over the ball's surface.  Glow tape is adhesive strips that glow in the dark and usually require activation by sunlight before it works.  It can be stuck on many surfaces.  Spray paint that glows may be a better option as it does not alter the surface of the ball.

Advance planning is crucial. Take sunglasses, hat, or visor if you anticipate participating in an environment with hard-to-navigate lighting conditions.  Skiing, in particular, with the additional glare of the snow with bright sunlight, is one situation that people with low vision find difficult.

Take all portable magnification devices you may need for the activity in which you plan to participate.  Use a monocular or binoculars to know the number of bowling pins you knocked down, a handheld video magnifier to read the display on a treadmill, and your bioptics when you ride your bicycle to locate distant objects such as street signs or upcoming steep hills.

A number of product reviews appear in AccessWorld articles.  The AFB Tech website has a "published results" section, to locate product evaluations by category, such as exercise equipment, video magnifiers, and blood pressure monitors.

If you plan to join a fitness club like the YMCA, ask the staff if you can label the equipment.  Different types of labeling options including large-print labelers that use tape with adhesive backing and pen-like devices that make raised, fluorescent-colored lines are sold by vendors of adaptive products. 

Ask team members to wear contrasting or fluorescent colors that are easy to see.  Use glow tape or spray paint to outline the boundaries of a basketball court or the perimeter of the volleyball net for better visibility. Illuminate the area, by using stringed lights (if a power source is nearby), so you can play during the darkest hours of the night or in a gym with the lights off.

People with vision loss become frustrated when using exercise equipment because machines often require entering information with the equipment's visual display, which typically feature small fonts or low contrast.  The buttons on the controls may be flush with the display's surface.  Braille, large-print, or tactile labels placed on controls are possible solutions.  

Check online shopping sites, pawn shops, or other secondhand stores for used equipment because older models are less likely to feature elaborate, inaccessible visual displays. 

Several talking, Braille, and large-print scales are available; just search the catalogs of adaptive products vendors to find one that best suits your needs.  A unique product is the Phoenix talking body fat scale that reads aloud both weight and percentage of body fat.  It works by using bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), based on a person's height, weight, and the strength and speed at which a very safe, low-level electrical signal passes through the muscle and fat in the body.  Electrodes built into the chrome footpads send an electronic signal through the body.  Weight and body fat are calculated automatically.

Braille or large-print tape measures help a person measure body proportions.  Health clubs often take measurements at the beginning of a training regimen and again about three months later to track inches lost.

High blood pressure is common among Americans. Check adaptive products catalogs to find what is available. 

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has some unique products for physical education, including jump rope kits and walk/run fitness kits with talking pedometers.  They have a website for physical education information that contains listings for regional sports camps, descriptions of products, and listings for research articles.

The APH recently began selling the 30-Love tennis kit.  The game is played indoors with a foam tennis ball and each player is allowed one bounce.  The ball is served and hit in the same manner as the original game, providing the same tennis experience as sighted players.  Tennis for the blind is already a popular sport in Japan, where it has the same popularity as goalball and beep baseball.  The APH PE website and Tennis Foundation’s website provide information about the game.

Products that serve as a sound source by emitting an electronic beeping sound are available.  These can be attached to a basketball hoop, soccer goal, or the finish line of a racetrack.  Sighted participants often do not like the sound produced by the devices and refuse to play modified games using them.  A possible solution is to use an MP3 player with external speakers or a radio.

GPS software and hardware has the potential to assist in fitness activities, such as cross-country skiing, biking, hiking, or others that require covering large distances. The possibilities are endless

Beginning Yoga for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a five-CD set produced by Gretchen Hein, a certified Kripalu yoga instructor, and Marty Klein, a blind author and workshop facilitator.  The goal of the series is to help people with vision loss use yoga to reclaim and sustain strong, flexible bodies.  It helps users find local yoga classes that meet the needs of students with vision loss.  The Yoga postures are explained in detail, each pose on a separate track, so users can design their own sequences.  Other CDs include a yoga class simulation and instructions for yoga teachers on facilitating students with vision loss. The Blind Yoga website has more information.  An accessible yoga mat is sold by Rousettus Adaptive Sports.  The mat has braille and raised lines to help a person with vision loss align the body in the proper yoga postures.

An engineering team at the University of Notre Dame invented the AdapTap, a simple device that provides tactile feedback when one nears the ends of the pool.  This is beneficial for persons who want to execute a flip turn, but cannot see the markings on the pool's bottom, which are used by sighted swimmers to determine their distance from the wall.

Researchers from the University of Nevada are working on the Vi Fit project, creating accessible versions of Nintendo Wii sports games, specifically Fit, Tennis, Bowling, and Pet-n-Punch. You need a Wii remote and Bluetooth on your computer to play.

The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), offers regional sport camps, provides information on adapting various sports, and supports Paralympic athletes.

Copyright © 2011 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.


David Bruce Joins other KABVI Members Who Have Traveled to the Next Life

By Michael Byington

       David Bruce, long time KABVI member, died May 2, 2011. He was 57.

       Many other long time KABVI members will remember David. He attended every KABVI convention for about 30 years from the early 1970s through the beginning of this century. For the last several years, his health prevented him from attending conventions, but he remained an avid follower of KABVI activities.

       Many readers will recall that David was legally blind, and also used a wheelchair. On many issues we discussed at KABVI, he brought the unique perspective of someone who was blind, but who had other severe disabilities as well.

       Despite the many challenges he faced, the thing that is probably most memorable about David was his cheerfulness. He always had a good word for others, and remained upbeat despite many setbacks, especially those related to his own health. For the last three years of his life, he was on kidney dialysis.

       David held a bachelors degree from Wichita State University. He worked for Tom’s Peanuts, the Epilepsy Foundation of America, and Envision.

       He was married to Paula Coffman. At the time of his death, the two were separated and were contemplating divorce.

       David was preceded in death by his father, Jackson Bruce, who died approximately three months before David. He is survived by his mother, Hester (Bobbie) and his sister, Ceemone.

       On a personal note, I have known David from the fourth grade on, when we met at Washington Elementary School, where we were both participating in the specialty programming available for the visually impaired. Over the many years, David has provided me with much encouragement and support in the advocacy work I have done on behalf of people who are blind, visually impaired, and multiply disabled blind. I will miss this man who was my long time friend, and who, during our late teens and early 20s, was my partner in considerable attempted debauchery.


Chapter Chatter

       It’s summer and KABVI chapters are on vacation – at least, some of the people who attend them are on vacation, so KABVI NEWS has few chapter activities to report.  The next KABVI NEWS deadline is October 21 and by that time perhaps you will have some information about your fall and winter plans.  In the meantime – don’t melt, please! 

       Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (CKAVI) – had 26 participants at their workshop April 17.  Fourteen people attended a potluck dinner in July.  CKAVI is selling chances on a handmade Christmas tree skirt and a quilt at $1 each or six chances for $5.  Tickets are available by calling Sister Corona, (785) 793-1232 or Paul or Trella Berscheidt at (785) 793-5645. 


Tantalizing Tidbits

Compiled by Nancy Johnson

AmeriCorps grant:  In conjunction with Douglas County United Way, Independence, Inc. was selected for an AmeriCorps grant for next year. AmeriCorps is a national program, similar to the Peace Corps, that places volunteers in areas of need here in this country. The position starts Sept. 1.

The position could be customized according to the student’s major, but in general involves outreach, training, teaching and advocacy designed to improve the “healthy futures” of individuals with disabilities.  It requires about 33 hours a week of work, pays approximately $1000 a month and includes health insurance and an education grant of up to $5500.  It could be a perfect position for a recent grad in psychology, law, teaching, social work, pre-med, etc. who can’t find a job and wants to do fulfilling work for a year to get some experience before hitting the job market again.  Applicants can send their resumes to shschwartz@independenceinc.org.

The Student Connection:  Chase Crispin, a blind student going into high school, a contributor to Main Menu, an ACB Radio Mainstream show, will soon be bringing a new show, the Student Connection, to ACB Radio Mainstream.  The show will be called the Student Connection, and will focus on issues and challenges facing students who are blind or visually impaired.  Even if you are no longer a student, you are more than welcome to listen and send in your feedback about your experiences when you were in school.  Each month Chase will have a specific topic to talk about, but if you send feedback he will hold onto it until the appropriate time.   Although this show will not be live, feedback will still be important.  Chase will say at the end of each show what the next month's topic will be, so you can start sending your comments, questions, thoughts, stories, etc.  The show will not succeed without your interaction.  The first show will air soon, so start thinking about things you would like to hear about and things you would like to share for the first and future Student Connection shows.

The Student Connection will be prerecorded, meaning it will not be live.  It will be one hour long. A new show will air once per month.  Again, please stay tuned for the first topic, ways to contact Chase, and the show time.  If you know any students who would be interested in the show, please share this information with them. 

 Mentoring Project:  The American Council of the Blind is working with the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Mississippi State University to ascertain the positive impact on blind and visually impaired college students of employed blind and visually impaired mentors.  If you are interested, please direct all communication to Jamie O'Mally, at the telephone number or e-mail address listed below.

       The Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision at Mississippi State University is seeking college students and professionals who are legally blind to participate in an employment-mentoring project.  Students will be paired with mentors based on location and field of interest, and we will examine the influence of a mentor relationship on employment outcomes for graduating students including: development of job seeking-skills, job placement, job satisfaction, and self-efficacy. 

Potential benefits for students include: assistance in career goal development, skills training, job seeking, job placement, and opportunities for job shadowing. We expect that mentors will benefit from working closely with college or graduate students who are blind and the opportunity to assist in research that seeks to benefit the blind community. This research is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.  Please contact Jamie O’Mally at 662-325-2001 or at rrtc2@colled.msstate.edu  if you have any questions or require additional information.

Dr. Jamie O’Mally, Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Brenda Cavenaugh, Research Professor

Research & Training Center on Blindness & Low Vision

Mississippi State University

P.O. Box 6189

Mississippi State, MS 39762


FaceBook Enthusiasts, Jon Marcotte is affiliated with a blind sport called goalball.  The team he associates with, Northern California Earthquake, has a page on facebook.  The page, if you search for it, is called "earthquake Goalball."  Jon is asking you to go to this page and click on the "like" link because the team is trying to show the strongest support of any team in the country.

On the team is a man who is one of the top four players in the U.S. and travels the world playing the sport.  Earthquake Goalball will compete in the national championship in upstate New York.  This might not be something you are interested in but, for the sake of blind people and the little recognition the sport gets, on things like ESPN, please go to the page and click the "like" link.  Thanks in advance to the people who do this and for the others … well, no worries.


In Memoriam

       June Holland, 81, died March 7, 2011, in Oklahoma City, OK.  She was the wife of Lowell Holland, who was director of the Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired for a number of years.

Oblinger, Mary Ann (Mueller), beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother kicked
the bucket Thursday, June 9, 2011.  Born on the family farm in Valley Center, Kansas October 23, 1928 to Harrie S. and Ina Belle (Wilson) Mueller, she was the youngest
and arguably the most stubborn of four girls.  She graduated from North High School in 1946 and went on to Stephens College in Columbia, MO and finished college at Iowa State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture.  After graduation, she married fellow Landscape Architecture student Warren J. Oblinger.  After a short stint in Santa Fe, NM, they eventually settled in Wichita, KS where she raised six children who simultaneously irritated and amused her until the day she died.  Some of her passions were reading, knitting, needlepoint, music, Braille, nature and supporting the arts.
She volunteered many hours to her church, the Wichita
Area Girl Scouts, PTA, Cub Scouts and the Braille Association of Kansas of which she became the director. She was a member of the CI chapter of PEO, the DAR
and the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.  She was a wacky gal and will be sincerely missed by all whose lives she touched. She was pre-deceased by her parents and a
brother, Clifford Max.  Those she left behind (befuddled?) are her children: Sarah Oblinger (Al Tyrrell) of Dixon, NM, Patience (John) Centers of Aiken, SC, Melinda
Oblinger (Alan Lee) of Croyton, PA, Gregg (Karen) Oblinger of Mulvane, KS, Tabitha Bean of Burns, KS and Clifton Oblinger (Barbara Quantz) of Overland Park; her sisters: Harriett (Ed) Cheaney of Granville, OH, Jennie Byerley of Wichita, KS and Donna (Chuck) Goodrum of Springfield, VA; her husband Warren J. Oblinger of Lee's Summit, MO and 9 grandchildren, 4.9 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.  Memorials have been established with the American Foundation for the Blind, Attn: Audrey Taylor, 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102, NY, NY 10121,
www.afb.org and United Methodist Open Door Ministries, PO Box 2756, Wichita, KS 67201,
www.umopendoor.orgPublished in The Wichita Eagle on June 19, 2011 

Rosemary Distifan, 83, died June 13, 2011 in Wichita, Kansas, was born August 10, 1927 to Charles and Alice (Waddell) Middleton.  She and her sister Lucille were born with a genetic eye problem that resulted in placement in the Kansas School for the Blind in Kansas City for elementary and secondary education.  Rosemary returned to Wichita where she graduated from Friends University and was employed as a medical transcriptionist for the State of Kansas in Topeka.  She married Frank Distifan, also visually impaired.  Using attitudes and skills taught by their parents and schooling, they lived independently.  Frank managed coffee shops and Rosemary became the social worker for the blind clients of Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services, where she was able to assist them to reach their potential.  Frank died in 2001.  Rosemary retired after about fifty years of state employment.  When Rosemary's eyesight deteriorated, she obtained a dog guide from a business in Washington, Kansas; that dog became frail and Rosemary travelled to New York to spend three weeks to acquaint herself with
a second dog.  The dogs helped her remain ambulatory until Rosemary's own health deteriorated.  In 2009, she entered the Kansas Masonic Home.  Her positive attitude and failure to complain made her many friends.  She is survived by her sister, Lucille Parli of McKinney, Texas; two nephews, Steve and Frank Parli; longtime friend, Betty Spriggs, Wichita, Ks. and a host of other friends.   Memorials have been designated to the Humane Society, 3313 N. Hillside, Wichita, KS. 67291.  Condolences may be sent to the family at
Published in The
Wichita Eagle on June 19, 2011 

 Kenneth A. “Kenny” Wright 82, died July 7, 2011 at Aldersgate Village in Topeka following a stroke.  Kenny was born on Sept. 13, 1928 in Bonner Springs, the son of Ernest J. and Thelma Jean White Wright. He attended school in Bonner Springs. As a young man, he worked in industrial construction where his eyes were injured in an accident resulting in low vision. Subsequently he worked for the Kansas Industries for the Blind until retiring in 2000. He married Agnes Ann Montague Shy in 1976. They later divorced. She survives. They enjoyed short trips to Branson, MO, Florida and Colorado. Kenny was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Charley, Marion, Freddy, Billy, and Larry Wright. He was also preceded in death by his sisters Dixie Conley, Carol Huske Holt, and Ruby Jones. He is survived by two sisters, Katherine Kate Berrier, Carrollton, MO; and Shirley Bright and husband Teddy, Kansas City, KS; brother-in-law John T. Jones, Louisburg, KS; four stepdaughters: Lou Ann Montague, Columbia, MO, Carolyn Church, Lawrence, KS Jeannie Wiseman, Topeka, Nancy Boulton, Rich Hill, MO, seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and many nieces & nephews. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kansas Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired or a charity of the donor’s choice in lieu of flowers. Online condolences may be sent to www.kevinbrennanfamily.com. Kenneth A. Wright.  Published in the Topeka Capital Journal, July 12, 2011. 


2011 KABVI Membership Application


____ Enclosed is $10.00 for my 2010 KABVI dues.


___ Enclosed is $250 for my Life Membership.


NAME: __________________________________


ADDRESS: _______________________________




ZIP: _________TELEPHONE:_____-___________






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.