KABVI NEWS

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Mission

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 56 winter 2015 No. 4

KANSAS ASSOCIATION for the BLIND and VISUALLY IMPAIRED

Corporate Office, 712 SW Kansas Ave. Suite 410

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@cox.net abyington@cox.net

Chairman of the Board and President

Nancy Johnson

714 SW Wayne Avenue

Topeka KS 66606

(785) 234-8449

Supermom1941@cox.net

SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO:

Membership Secretary, KABVI

KABVI NEWS promotes the general welfare of blind and visually impaired persons in Kansas.  KABVI NEWS reflects the philosophy and policies of the Association, reports the activities of its members, and includes pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision. 

Send us your news, views, articles, and features.  Materials in braille, on tape, on computer (Microsoft Word), or typewritten (double spaced large print) are considered.   When quoting from other published materials, please include dates and sources.  Unsigned material is not considered for publication.  Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and 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. 

Annual meeting notices and membership renewal letters are sent to all persons on KABVIís mailing list. If notices or newsletters are returned as undeliverable, those names are removed from the mailing list and their subscriptions to KABVI News discontinued.  Membership is open to anyone interested but is not required for receipt of KABVI News.  A membership renewal form on which to indicate your media preference is included at the end of each issue of KABVI News.  Thank you for helping KABVI keep current records. 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

2015 Presidentís Report, by Nancy Johnson - 4

To the KABVI Awards Committee, by Merle and Jeannie Snopak - 9

Returning to Godís Country, by Alvin Vopata Ė 10

Report from the Board of Directors, by Ann Byington, Recording Secretary Ė 12

Dillons Community Rewards Program Ė 16

Tantalizing Tidbits, compiled by Ann Byington 18

Chapter Chatter, Compiled by Nancy Johnson Ė 29

Angel, by Nancy Johnson Ė 30

In Memoriam - 32

2016 Membership and KABVI NEWS Renewal - 34

2015 PRESIDENTíS REPORT

BY NANCY JOHNSON

I wish everyone a blessed and joyful holiday season and hope 2016 brings all youíve wished for! Those who worked hard for KABVI deserve many thanks. There isnít room to name each of them. I thank everyone who helped me make it through this year.

2015 was a busy year! Judy Hysten and Michael Byington attended the American Council of the Blindís mid-year meetings. Calls to the office requesting information or referral averaged ten to twelve a month Ė about the same as 2014. KABVI was represented at the Kansas Youth Leadership Forumís resource fair, senior fairs at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, Pratt, and Emporia. Some KABVI people worked with students at Braille Camp this summer in Topeka. Beulah Carrington and I attended the alumni week end at the Kansas School for the Blind. With the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came celebrations. I made a short video about blindness that was included in a larger video that was shown as a part of the Topeka Independent Living Resource Centerís ADA celebration. KABVI was represented at the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns and the Bob Dole Institute. I attended the seminar on Employment in Kansas and the Kansas Disability Caucus. In several cases, I was the only blind person attending. I continue to represent KABVI on the Kansas Council for Developmental Disabilities, Topeka Metroís Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation Services, the Pedestrian Planning Committee of Topeka, and I served on the search committee for the director of Kansas Public Radio/Audio-Reader.

Henry Staub, Phyllis Schmidt, Carolyn Thomason, and I began work on a video about KABVI that we can post on Youtube and possibly distribute to other media. What we realized is that KABVI needs a plan. The organization has a stellar past, achieved primarily through legislation. But times have changed and legislation, though still important, doesnít appear as viable as it once was. Itís important that we watch legislation related to disabilities and make sure blind people are included Ė nationally, state-wide, and locally.

Organizations that grow change. KABVI isnít growing, so we must need to change. So Ė what needs changing, how will changes happen, and who will do the work? Should present programs continue? They include advocacy, information and referral, KABVI NEWS, scholarships, benefits advocacy, assistive technology recycling, youth activities, and extremely limited rehabilitation teaching. I believe they are worth expanding, but theyíre not enough. KABVI seems to be simply a name in a phone book or on a resource list. The organization is basically invisible to the general population. Working behind the scenes was fine when the state provided full services and we work with legislators. KABVIís efforts kept state services alive their last ten years, and then those services quietly went away.

In KABVIís information brochure produced in 2013, we stated our goal is "to re-establish prevocational services to working-age adults with low vision and blindness that were eliminated by the stateís closure of the Rehabilitation Teaching and Rehabilitation Center programs. The programs were discontinued in 2010; the brochure was produced in 2013; and in 2015 a plan still needs to be developed.

Most of us are of the generation that benefited from the services that are no more, weíre old and enjoying retirement. Iím convinced, after 29 years as a rehab teacher providing adjustment to vision loss and adaptive skills training to people new to vision loss, and three years answering the phone at the KABVI office, the services are still needed.

A concern Iíve had since I became actively involved with KABVI in the 90s is the lack of response to questions/suggestions published in KABVI NEWS. I know how easy it is to put the newsletter aside to "think about" a response Ė and then forget. But the questions arenít rhetorical. Unless people respond to questions, make suggestions, indicate interest in participating, or respond in some other way, I cannot feel comfortable committing KABVI to activities or projects. Though self-sufficiency, opportunity, and quality of life for all are the goals, there doesnít seem to be a definite action plan for achieving them.

Without a viable source of income to sustain KABVIís programs, we canít move forward: Without a definite plan for moving forward, itís difficult to raise funds. KABVI is between the proverbial "rock and a hard place." For the organization to sustain itself, it must push back the rock and get out of the hard place!

Convention attendees re-elected me as president for another year. Iíll do all I can for KABVI, but I canít push back the rock by myself Ė not even with the help of eleven other board members! Your board has ideas and will see that KABVIís work gets done, but even twelve people canít do it all! Change is difficult. Unless all KABVIís members and friends become actively involved with the organization, I fear it wonít last very far into the next hundred years.

So Ė YOU TELL US! Will you ACTIVELY work to help KABVI move forward? With the annual membership renewal letter we send in January, Iíll insert a questionnaire asking each of you about your talents and if youíll share them with KABVI. Please take a little time to return it, and I thank you in advance for your help!

 

 

TO KABVI AWARDS COMMITTEE

FROM MERLE AND JEANNIE SNOPAK

Itís no surprise that KABVI has a lot of good people Ė hard-working and dedicated. And weíd like to recommend one of them for the Eleanor A. Wilson award. The person who receives this award should, through personal characteristics and activities, promote public acceptance and understanding of the blind as capable and productive members of the community. One among us meets these qualifications outstandingly. He has been a member, director and treasurer of KABVI for many years. Heís definitely an asset to the organization, an integral part of the backbone of KABVI.

At the conventions heís always a very busy fellow, taking care of necessary business. More than that though, heís so accommodating, doing whatever heís asked to do and extras that weíre probably not aware of. And how about back home between conventions (who knows but his lovely wife, maybe) how many countless hours he spends doing research and all sorts of things in our behalf. Truly he is dedicated to what KABVI stands for. And in the community he and his wife represent our organization in a fine way. They make us all look good. When we come to conventions and approach the registration desk, we hear the pleasant voices of Bob and Nancy Chaffin, and we feel that things are the way theyíre supposed to be.

These are just some of the reasons we believe Robert (Bob) Chaffin deserves the Eleanor A. Wilson Award Ė to keep things just the way they should be.

EDITORíS NOTE: It couldnít be said better! Congratulations, Bob Chaffin, on winning the Eleanor A. Wilson award!

RETURNING TO GODíS COUNTRY

BY ALVIN VOPATA

7912 Doe Trail Way, Antelope, CA 95843

In the 17 years I had the pleasure of serving as the first itinerant orientation and mobility specialist for the Sedgwick county Educational Cooperative, I also had the honor and privilege of mingling with many of you. These vision program professionals were among individuals I found most supportive and inspirational during my time in Kansas: Larry Clark with his vision staff at the co-op, the vision staff in Greenbush, Bill Daugherty and Jeff Young at the Kansas State School for the Blind, the Lawlors and the Byingtons. I was truly blessed by your being included in my life.

The same can be said of two students among the hundreds I have taught in my 45-year special education career in eight states. Although some say we should keep our studentsí names confidential, I am one who prefers to identify students who demonstrate impressive accomplishments. In Kansas those students were Paul Sedan and Alosha in Goddard.

I am grateful as well for the nine summers I served in the residential and vocational programs at KSSB. From my perspective, I learned far more from the staff and students there than they learned from me.

Prior to returning to Godís Country, I taught special education for 22 years. That was fun. In my last three school years, I drove 200 miles each way from our home in Visalia, on weekends, across the San Joaquin Valley through the coastal mountains to my itinerant O&M position in Santa Clara County based in San Jose. Yes, I knew the way.

In my last year there, I had an office in Los Gatos High School, directly across the street from the Ferrari dealership. I slept week-day nights in a cabin in the nearby mountains.

That almost made staying there worthwhile, but when I reached 55, minimum retirement age in the State Teachersí Retirement System, it was time to die and go to heaven (AKA Kansas). In my most recent retirement, I have a disease with a fancy name: Wald Enstromís Macroglobulinemia, a form of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Aside from the cancer, our sonís girlfriend borrowing $2600 from me yesterday to get her car out of impound, and my wife, Ligaya, being somewhere in the Philippine Islands, allís honky-dory here in Antelope.

REPORT FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

BY ANN BYINGTON, RECORDING SECRETARY

The Board of Directors meeting of the Kansas Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (KABVI) met October 18, 2015 at the KABVI office. Officers and directors attending: Nancy Johnson, President; Ann Byington, Recording Secretary; Michael Byington, corresponding secretary; and Bob Chaffin, Treasurer. Board members: Kathy Dawson, Bill Moore, Phyllis Schmidt, Henry Staub, and Marilyn Lind. Vice president Paul Berscheidt, Membership secretary Mikel McCary, and Judy (Davis) Hysten were absent. Guests included newly elected Membership Secretary, Carolyn Thomason, Nancy Chaffin, and Melisa Frantz, Southeast Library Special Needs Coordinator.

A discussion of how much detail the Board wants in the minutes resulted in Ann agreeing to do them in a timelier manner and to send out a brief reminder list to the Board shortly before the next meeting.

Ann raised the question of how to dispose of the BrailleNote Apex which was given to KABVI by Sandra Andrews on behalf of a TAP client. Michael reminded Board members that, like the Veteransí Administration, once equipment is provided to someone by TAP, it belongs to that person for their use. After more discussion including selling the item for $500, or providing it to a braille reader scholarship winner, Ann was directed to bring the equipment to the KABVI office for use as a potential braille backup for the database or other computer activities.

Michael moved that the Board ratify all actions of the 2015 KABVI convention including the treasurerís report and naming of officers by the convention membership; motion was seconded by Kathy and passed. Officers recommended by the convention were: Nancy Johnson, president; Paul Berscheidt, Vice-president; Bob Chaffin, treasurer; Ann Byington, recording secretary; Michael Byington, corresponding secretary; and Carolyn Thomason, membership Secretary. Directors chosen this year were Kathy Dawson and Judy Hysten; Nancy and Bob were re-elected to the board as well.

Bob requested more complete directions to next yearís convention site and that, if attendees are to go to a less obvious place in the building, someone be appointed to assist members in finding the meeting location.

Michael was reminded as corresponding secretary of the list of "thank-you" notes he needs to send.

He requested the opportunity as corresponding secretary to create a "thank-you" letter for Mr. Montefarrante for his Envision donation of $500 and his personal donation of $150. He will send Bob a hard copy to include with the requested invoice to Envision. Bob reminded Michael that the Snopaks also deserve a thank-you note for their convention registration donation. Other "thank-you" notes should go to Joyce Richie for her provision of sponsors for food, paper products, soda, and gift cards; Pat Murphy for her painting, and Rita for her craft items, Evelyn Fitzpatrick for her donated blanket, and Ruby Simmonds for the afghan. Ann provided a list of sponsors Joyce contacted for Michael as well.

Next yearís convention plans were discussed with several possibilities including Envision, KSSB as part of the Alumni weekend, regional meetings in Hays, Great Bend, Wichita, Salina, Dodge City, and Topeka. Phyllis noted that social media has lessened the need for face-to-face contacts for people to get information. We may want to contact other states regarding how they handle conventions. Ann agreed to attend any ACB convention workshops on growing our affiliate using social media. Michael mentioned that Bay State Council of Massachusetts and other states are streaming their conventions. Additionally, he suggested having our awards etc. at lunch, and only do a one-day convention. Ann noted that we will need to acquire more members with technical capabilities to stream anything, either to just our state, to ACB radio or the internet in general. The possibility of Audio-Reader broadcasting the meeting was suggested as a means of reaching a statewide audience, particularly the older blind.

Michael moved with a second by Kathy that the current convention planning committee of Ann, Phyllis, Kathy and Michael create two possible convention proposals to be submitted to the Board via email by November 16th. We will need a vote at that time to begin work on next yearís meeting.

Phyllis requested that KABVI and our local blindness organizations make an effort to involve multiply handicapped and developmentally disabled blind in our activities. By doing so, their families might become involved in KABVI and local groups. The Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TABVI) is of particular interest to residents of Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI) who are blind.

Bob noted that the craft sale and silent auction netted over $400 and reminded KABVI members to sign up with Dillonís online to give KABVI a small percentage of all groceries purchased.

DILLONS COMMUNITY REWARDS PROGRAM

To help raise funds for the organization, KABVI is now enrolled in the Dillons Community Rewards program. To get enrolled and help KABVI:

Each person must have

  • A PLUS card, available at any Dillons store by asking an associate, or you can apply online
  • A valid email address, which can be obtained from any free online service and can be anonymous
  • A personalized account at our website, which again can be anonymous

To enroll in the Community Rewards Program:

To create an online account at the Dillons website:

For assistance setting up an online account or with general questions, please feel free to call 800-576-4377, option 3.

Specific purchases that cannot be included are: Alcohol, tobacco, fuel, pharmacy purchases with government assistance (Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare), postage, bottle deposits, lottery, Western Union, other customer services, promotional tickets, sales tax, banner gift cards, reloadable gift card products (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Green Dot). See FAQís at the Dillons website for a complete list of exclusions.

Dillons and Kroger stores are located across the state. KABVI appreciates your help through this program.

 

TANTALIZING TIDDBITS

COMPILED BY ANN BYINGTON

**From National Braille Press: 2015 Holiday Sale & Gifts! Order three books from the list below, get the fourth one FREE! Order two books from this list, get the third one for half-price! (As always, we apply the discount/free book to the most expensive book in the bunch). Sale expires December 31, 2015. Order soon - these books are in limited supply; last year we sold out quickly! We encourage telephone orders. You can order online, but you'll need to call or email us for your free book. Books included in the sale: The Gift of Nothing, $14.99; You Are Special, $16.99; The Tale of Peter Rabbit, $5.00; If You Find a Rock, $6.99; And Here's To You!, $6.99; Disney's Frozen, $6.99; A House Is a House For Me, $7.99; Put Me in the Zoo, $8.99; Ed and Ted and Ted's Dog Fred, $5.00; Henry and Mudge: The First Book, $5.00;Rotten Ralph, $7.95; Basketball, $6.95; Bat Loves the Night, $8.99; The Other Way to Listen, $7.99; Froggy's Day with Dad, $5.99; Odd Boy Out, $6.99; Freedom Summer, $7.9; Hooway for Wodney Wat, $6.95; Penny and Her Marble, $5.00; Castle: How It Works, $5.00. VERY limited quantity for thee two - order soon! A Sick Day for Amos McGee, $16.99; The Spiffiest Giant in Town, $6.99. These items are NOT part of the sale - but they make great gifts! Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, $17.99; The Book With No Pictures, $17.99; You Rock. print/braille magnet, $5.00; Peter Rabbit Plush Doll, $20.00; That's Not My Pony! $9.99; Tactile Coloring Books, $10-12; Amazing Tactile Mazes, $15. To order any books, send payment to: NBP, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302. Or call and charge it: toll-free (800) 548-7323 or (617) 266-6160 ext. 520. Or order any of our books online at http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html **Eric Bridges, ACB Interim Executive Director. Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2016: With consumer prices down over the past year, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 65 million Americans will not automatically increase in 2016. The Social Security Act provides for an automatic increase in Social Security and SSI benefits if there is an increase in inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The period of consideration includes the third quarter of the last year a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) was made to the third quarter of the current year. As determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was no increase in the CPI-W from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015. Therefore, under existing law, there can be no COLA in 2016. Other adjustments that would normally take effect based on changes in the national average wage index also will not take effect in January 2016. Since there is no COLA, the statute also prohibits a change in the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax, as well as the retirement earnings test exempt amounts. These amounts will remain unchanged in 2016. The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet announced Medicare premium changes for 2016. Should there be an increase in the Medicare Part B premium, the law contains a "hold harmless" provision that protects approximately 70 percent of Social Security beneficiaries from paying a higher Part B premium, in order to avoid reducing their net Social Security benefit. Those not protected include higher income beneficiaries subject to an income-adjusted Part B premium and beneficiaries newly entitled to Part B in 2016. In addition, beneficiaries who have their Medicare Part B premiums paid by state medical assistance programs will see no change in their Social Security benefit. The state will be required to pay any Medicare Part B premium increase. Information about Medicare changes for 2016, when available, will be found at www.medicare.gov. For additional information, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/cola. **From **From Kim Charlson, ACB President: John Huffman, President of the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL) agreed to serve on an advisory committee for the Older Individuals Who are Blind project. **From: Doug Powell via Rehab-stakeholders ACB Rehabilitation Issues Task Force Chair: The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is pleased to announce the awarding of the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals Who Are Blind (OIB) Training and Technical Assistance Program grant (84.177Z) to Mississippi State University (MSU), effective October 1, 2015. Through this grant, RSA established a Cooperative Agreement with MSU for an OIB Training and Technical Assistance Center to provide sustained training and technical assistance ‐‐ generalized, targeted, and intensive‐‐ to designated state agencies (DSAs) funded under the OIB program and to any service providers the DSAs funded to provide services directly to consumers. The Center will develop and provide training and Technical assistance to DSAs and other service providers funded under the OIB program in the following general topic areas: Community outreach; Best practices in the provision and delivery of services; Program performance, including data reporting and analysis; and Financial and management practices, including practices to ensure compliance with grant administration requirements. **BARD Mobile app for Android devices 1.0.2: The BARD Mobile application for Android devices, version 1.0.2, is now available at the Amazon App Store for library staff and patrons who wish to install the app on a Kindle Fire device. Note that only second-generation Kindle Fire devices are equipped to run the BARD Mobile application. However, not all of these devices include accessibility features. BARD Mobile app, version 1.0.2 that contains several bug fixes, is also available from the Google Play store. Patrons experiencing issues with the app are encouraged to update to the new version. This version of the BARD Mobile app enables NLS patrons to download talking books and magazines directly to their Android devices, provided they have BARD accounts and are using devices running Android OS 4.1 or later. The iOS version of the app, which facilitates download of braille and talking books, is available from the App Store. For more information contact your Talking Book Library. **The best way to improve the state of accessibility for consumers who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted at North American companies is to gain insight and then get the word out to the people who can either make improvements themselves (the companies) or be catalysts for change (the consumers). My name is Sharlyn Ayotte, and I am the Founder of and Consumer Engagement Officer for T-Base Communications, a full-service accessible communications company that specializes in producing accessible statements and bills on behalf of North Americaís largest corporations and education providers. The large volume of accessibility-related questions we receive from our customers tells us businesses are interested in learning about and improving the user experience. Because there are few, if any, up-to-date stats from consumers who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted and because your feedback is the most valuable, weíve put together a few questionnaires, each taking less than 5 minutes to complete, asking about experiences obtaining accessible statements and bills from call centers, in-branch/in-store and online. In the end, weíll have a data-packed final report to share with our customers and with end-user consumers across North America, in an effort to help calibrate the user experience. If you or someone you know is blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted, we need your help. We need to reach as many people as possible; with sufficient participation weíll have statistically sound results. We anticipate these results will not only increase awareness of accessibility in North America, but also influence future policies. Begin the questionnaire and see below for two other ways you can support us. Share our initiative on Facebook and Twitter with your followers. Go to our social media properties and share our tweets and status updates on: Facebook and Twitter. Invite friends and colleagues in the blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted community to participate. Copy and paste the text below in an email, and include the link to the questionnaire. "If you are a member of the blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted community, T-Base Communications would like to learn more about your experience receiving accessible information formats. Completing the questionnaire takes approximately 5 minutes. Access the questionnaire or call 1-800-563-0668 Ext. 1229 to receive the questionnaire in an alternate format of your choice. Please donít hesitate to contact me at sharlyn@tbase.com if you have questions or would like to chat further. **Another research opportunity: I am part of a team of MIT alumni and we are gathering some information about the experience of the blind and visually impaired community regarding interaction With mobile devices and services. We have a possible technology in mind which we feel may improve aspects of the experience, however for the moment our goal is to gather some first-hand knowledge of what online mobile interactions are like for the community. We have created a short survey and would greatly appreciate as many responses as possible so we can create a service that is truly tailored to the needs of the blind and visually impaired. If you are interested in participating please follow the link below to the form, and please feel free to email me with any questions at spb@siberman.com, https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1aU271iF0_gS3Mh8n1-F1ldzfwAZNywdw11NowYf3mc/viewform?usp=send_form. Simon Berman **From: Federal Transit Administration: FTA Issues Guidance to Public Transportation Agencies on Implementing Americans with Disabilities Act. FTA today published detailed guidance to transit agencies on how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). With the 25th anniversary of the landmark legislation as a backdrop, the release of FTAís ADA Circular represents a major milestone in assistance to the transit community. It thoroughly explains ADA requirements for public transit, providing real-life situations as examples of good practices for the transit industry to ensure accessible services for riders. The document does not amend or supersede the DOT ADA regulations; rather, it offers explanatory scenarios and sample templates. ** Unseen Art: We are aiming to create a new opportunity for blind and visually impaired people to experience art. The Unseen Art project involves people from all over the world to re-create classical art paintings in 3D so that they may be touched and felt, both in exhibitions and in people's homes. 3D models of the paintings are open source and printable anywhere in the world where there's access to a 3D printer. Creating equal access for art globally is our passion and goal. We have a short survey and I was hoping you could pass the link forward in your organization, newsletters, or events and social media. https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif. Link to the survey: https://fi.surveymonkey.com/r/ZCHBCMY. **For Immediate Release: Contact: Stuart Nelson, 202-371-8880. BVA Names Melanie Brunson to Government Relations Post Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) Executive Director Al Avina has announced the appointment of Melanie Brunson as the organizations Director of Government Relations. In her new role, effective October 26, Brunson will serve as BVAs primary legislative liaison between blinded veterans nationally and the U.S. Congress. She will prepare legislative testimony, correspond with elected representatives and senators, direct the Associations research on legislative issues affecting blinded veterans, and represent BVA in advocating for blinded veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Central Office. She will also participate in legislative policy development and analysis at BVA national conventions. On a national level, Melanie brings with her to BVA a wealth of knowledge and an excellent breadth of experience in her advocacy on behalf of the blind, The Blinded Veterans Association is the only congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to promoting the welfare of the Nations blinded veterans and their families. The Association completed 70 years of service on March 28, 2015. There is no charge for any BVA service and membership is not a prerequisite for assistance. For further information, call BVA at 800-669-7079 or visit www.bva.org American Council of the Blind, 617-501-5853 kimcharlson@acb.org. **Humana Offers Talking Prescription Labels for Members with Visual Impairments. Humana (NYSE: HUM) announced today it now offers talking prescription labels, at no cost, to blind and visually impaired members who fill prescriptions through Humana Pharmacy, Inc. and at its seven PrescribeIT Rx locations in Florida. Humana worked on its accessible prescription initiative with the American Council of the Blind and individual blind members in Nevada, Florida and Georgia. Humana offers talking labels provided by the ScripAbility prescription accessibility system, a service of En-Vision America. Braille labels are also available through the Humana mail-order Pharmacy. In addition to accessible prescription labels, and to ensure "equality of opportunity for meaningful access to healthcare services and activities," Humana blind or visually impaired members may request alternative format communications (i.e., Braille, Audio, Large Print, Screen Reader Accessible PDFís), at no cost, as their standard communication method, by sending an email to accessibility@humana.com. A concierge representative will contact members in response. Humana Pharmacy members can request talking or braille labels by contacting the Humana Pharmacy Call Center at 800-379-0092.

About Humana

CHAPTER CHATTER

COMPILED BY NANCY JOHNSON

**Topeka Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TABVI): In August Michael and Ann Byington gave a presentation on a book from ACB, "Barefoot Lawyer," and the author's life in China along with his struggles as a blind man. A covered dish dinner was enjoyed in September. October concerned business of the KABVI Convention and nominations for TABVI officers.

**Southwest Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired (SKAVI): Belated birthday wishes to long-time SKAVI member, Mabel Keller, who celebrated her 100th birthday in October! Also to Darlene Steele, who turned 90, and SKAVI became 50 years old!

**Editorís Note: If youíre posting your newsletters on Facebook, please send me the link. I finally reset my password and, though Facebook majorly frustrates me, I can pick your information from there. Put something in the subject line to let me know the information is for KABVI NEWS so Iíll be sure and save it. Large printís still fine for those who want to send that, or just a summary email to share your major news. I think Iím close to getting reorganized. - NJ

ANGEL

BY NANCY JOHNSON

Iím an angel Ė really Ė and proud of it!! My title is Christmas Angel. My job is to perch atop the Special familyís Christmas tree from Thanksgiving until New Years and watch over the Specials. Iíve grown old while doing my job, my wings are a bit crimped and my haloís no longer shiny. The Specials have grown old, too. Their backs are bent a bit, their hair gray, and they move a bit slowly. We have enjoyed many holiday seasons together.

Mrs. Special brought me home from the store the first Christmas she was married to Mr. Special. They laughed together and said I was absolutely beautiful and "just right" for the top of their tree. And up I went! And up Iíve gone for these many years to watch the Special family grow, and January 1 I come down, am carefully wrapped in tissue, and go into my box to rest until next year.

My primary job is to guard the Christmas gifts, though I canít really do much to protect them. Mr. and Mrs. Special had this cute little Dog named Trixie that was terribly curious. She couldnít stand smelling all those presents under the tree. One day, while the Specials were at work, Trixie unwrapped most of the packages. When Mrs. Special came home, she found her present from Mr. Special, and hers to him, lying unwrapped in the middle of the floor! She found some little bottles of perfume sheíd wrapped for a friend lying carefully on the pillow of their bed! Iíd tried to tell Trix not to unwrap the packages, but I just couldnít make her understand!

At first, when Mrs. Special found everything in a jumble and stuff all over the house, she was really mad and wanted to take Trixie back to the pet store. But, when she saw how carefully Trixie had placed the perfume bottles on the pillow, her mad went away and she laughed. She was afraid, though, that Mr. Special would come home and discover Trix had unwrapped their gifts to one another and be angry and disappointed, so she rewrapped those gifts first and put them back under the tree. Mr. Special did see most of the mess but not their presents, and they laughed together about the incident.

I could write a book, but I donít know where to go from here Ė there were pets, kids, grandkids, Ė something to watch from the treetop every year! The memories are funny, sweet, and sometimes sad. Each Christmas Angel has a Special family. Perched atop the Christmas tree I watch mine make their memories, and that makes me proud to be their Christmas Angel. I love my job!

IN MEMORIAM

**Marva "Jean" Williamson Age 77 of Hoyt Formerly of El Dorado. Jeanís life began on June 27, 1973 in El Dorado, the daughter of Vernon and Dorothy (Cloyes) Mitchell. Jean was an educator and administrator working with the disabled and later an administrator for the Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. She received her Masterís Degree in Education from Fort Hayes State University. After her retirement, Jean began her second passion as a warm and wonderful caregiver to anything from the smallest, sickest puppy to the oldest hospice-care dog. Jean is survived by her father Vernon Mitchell of El Dorado, daughters Valerie Williamson of Topeka, and Kelly Williamson of Denver and son Bryan Williamson of Pittsburg. Jean passed away on August 8, 2015 in Topeka. She is preceded in death by her mother Dorothy in 2005 and brother, Billy Mitchell. Memorial contributions in her name may be directed to Pawdíner Ranch Rescue or Hospice Inc. Dog Shelter.

**Emelia Germaine Wetig, May 1, 1924-August 3, 2015, age 91, died at her sonís home in Great Bend. She was born in Raimes, France, the daughter of Emile and Henriette (Vairon) Lesne. Emelia married Elmer Daniel Wetig November 16, 1946 at Great Bend. Emelia, who came from Charleroi, Belgium was a homemaker and resident of Great Bend since 1946. She was a member of Prince of Peace Parish at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Altar Society, Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired, and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3111 Auxiliary. Survivors include two sons: James Edward Wetig and his wife, Armella of Russell, and John Eugene Wetig and his wife Nancy of Great bend; one brother, Charles Lesne of Charleroi, Belgium; six grandchildren: Cheri, David, Laurie, John, Jamie, and Joy; nineteen great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews in Belgium and the United States. Emelia was preceded in death by two sisters Jeannie Baczkowski and Lina Larek, and one brother-in-law, Jean Baczkowski. Memorials are requested to Central Kansas Association for the Visually Impaired or St. Rose Health Center Endowment Fund for Golden Belt Home Health and Hospice, in care of Bryant Funeral Home.

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