Published quarterly by

Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Vol. 59                  fall 2016                No. 3

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 among our sighted peers.

Return to:                  Free matter for the Blind KABVI                           and Visually Impaired

712 S. Kansas Ave., Ste. 410     

Topeka, KS 66603-3080



Corporate Office, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410

Topeka, KS 66603-3080

Phone: (785) 235-8990

Toll free in Kansas 1-800-799-1499

Editor                                       Associate Editor

Nancy Johnson                         Ann Byington

714 SW Wayne Ave.              909 SW College Ave.

Topeka, KS 66606-1753            Topeka, KS 66606


Nancy Johnson

714 SW Wayne Ave.

Topeka, KS 66606-1753

Phone: (785) 234-8449

Send address changes to:

Membership Secretary, KABVI, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410, Topeka, KS 66603-3080

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 your news, views, articles, and features.  Materials in Braille, on disk (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 accepted for publication.  Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and original materials will be returned.  Editorial staff reserves the right to edit submitted materials.

Articles for publication must reach the editor by January 22, April 22, July 22, and October 22!

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


Reflections, by Nancy Johnson, President - 4

Myths and Misconceptions about Blindness, author unknown – 6

Convention Update, by Ann Byington – 8

Awards Nominations Due - 9

Report from the Board of Directors, by Ann Byington, Recording Secretary – 11

Pet Corner, by Marilyn Lind - 20

Tantalizing Tidbits, Compiled by Nancy Johnson – 22

Chapter Chatter, by Nancy Johnson - 26

In Mamoriam – 27

KABVI 2016 Membership and KABVI NEWS Renewal – 28


By Nancy Johnson

     Who are "the blind and visually impaired?"  That’s a fair question – just who ARE we? An easy answer is that we are people who are not able to see or not able to see very well.  Within that "easy" answer lie myriad possibilities.  Doctors measure eyesight in a variety of ways, and you need to consult your eye specialist to understand your specific situation. Though it isn’t used much anymore, the old Snellen big E chart suffices for this discussion. 

If the patient, standing 20 feet from the chart, could read the bottom line, that patient had 20/20 eyesight as do most people.  The larger the bottom number of the fraction becomes, the less eyesight a person has.  The fraction for "legally blind" is 20/200. It says, the "average" person can see from 20 feet what most people can see from 200 feet.  For example, my left eye is 20/1500, the right is 20/2800., and the two eyes together 20/1000.  I have some usable eyesight. It’s possible to have better than 20/20 vision.  Some people have 20/15– they see at 20 feet what most people see at 15.   Visual field (the area covered by your vision) is also measurable.  At some point, which is different for each of us, vision loss affects the ability to perform daily tasks and can be called a visual impairment. 

      In today’s vernacular, "blind" means totally without eyesight.  The eye is a complex organ, and between acuity of 20/200 and totally without sight are many degrees and possibilities for vision impairment. Generally speaking, the "blind and visually impaired" are people for whom vision loss creates significant barriers to daily activities and who may need to use nonvisual techniques and/or specialized technology to compensate for vision loss.  We hope for the "medical miracle:" and we cope as we hope.  We share what we know, and we strongly advocate for what people who are blind and visually impaired need.  Our goal is people of the future won’t have to deal with the barriers with which we have had to deal. 



Most people think all blind people live in total darkness, but actually blindness ranges from legal blindness with 20/200 acuity or severely restricted fields to total blindness, with many varying degrees in between.

When talking with a person who is blind, use words like "see", "look" and "blind" as you would in ordinary conversation with a sighted person.

A person who is blind or visually impaired may have interests similar to yours. Speak directly to him or her, not through another person.

Many people think people who are blind or visually impaired are endowed with other highly developed senses and skills. This is not so. Loss of eyesight requires learning to do familiar tasks by using remaining senses differently.

Many people think people who are blind or visually impaired cannot live alone or work independently but, with adaptive skills training and assistive aids and technology, people readjust living and working skills to the new situation.

There are misconceptions about traveling. Some people use guide dogs; others travel around their communities by using white canes. They travel on public transportation to far-off places and also enjoy theater and other cultural and community events.

Students who are blind or visually impaired attend public schools. Job opportunities are opening. Many new electronic devices, computerized Braille and large type books are available to aid people who are blind or visually impaired with education and careers.


By Ann Byington

This year’s KABVI convention will be in Wichita, on Friday October 28th from noon to 5:00 PM and Saturday, October 29, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.  The meeting will be in the InTrust Room, Lower Level, Envision, 610 N. Main.  The shortened format offers a luncheon banquet featuring Wes Brummer, recently published author of "Dust and Roses" and one of our legally blind members. 

Hotel reservations may be made until September 26th at the Quality Inn, Downtown Wichita, 1011 N. Topeka, Phone (316) 269-9999.  Rooms are mostly double queen beds with a few kings.  Rates are $75.99 per night which includes a hot breakfast; with tax rates are approximately $80.99. Because the Byington apartment is just down the street at 428 N. Topeka, we will host hospitality on Friday night.

Envision’s art program and Everyday Store are opportunities to shop and learn how creative and talented blind persons are.  We hope to host a "Chat ‘n Chew" dialog with teachers of the visually impaired and their paraprofessionals from across the state to discuss "learned dependence," which will also be of interest to parents.  New technologies including Amazon’s Alexa Echo, Face book’s picture description capability, working with iDevices, and new apps which help blind folks living alone when nothing but someone with vision will do, are all in the works. We are also hoping to present "One-Touch Self-Defense" training and of course, we will hold elections and conduct other relevant business.

Look for a more specific program on our Face Book page and a registration packet as plans are solidified.   


*** The Eleanor A. Wilson Award is presented annually to "the visually handicapped." The recipient should, in general, through personal characteristics and activities, promote public acceptance and understanding of the blind as capable and productive members of the community. Relatively more emphasis should be placed on contributions over and beyond those made in the course of regular employment. The recipient shall be selected without reference to visual acuity; shall be, or shall have been, a resident of the state of Kansas; and shall be selected without reference to affiliation with organizations of or for the blind. No member of the awards committee nor members of their immediate families shall be eligible to receive this award.

*** The Extra Step award is presented for unique courage and successful personal rehabilitation. The recipient, through personal characteristics and activities, shall have exhibited initiative and ingenuity in meeting the unique challenges in life and shall have contributed to society in an outstanding manner. The recipient shall be legally blind; need not be a resident of Kansas; and shall be selected without reference to organizations of or for the blind. No member of the awards committee nor their immediate family shall be eligible for the Extra Step award.

Please send letters of nomination for these awards to Michael Byington, 428 N. Topeka, Wichita, KS 67202 before September 1.


By Ann Byington, Recording Secretary

With the (unfortunately unsuccessful) efforts to get the Spring issue of KABVI NEWS to readers in time for them to participate in the Pizza Hut fundraiser shared by the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and KABVI, a report from the board of directors was not provided in the last issue of KABVI NEWS.  This report consolidates activities of the April 16 and July 16 meetings of the Board of Directors.  Both were convened at the corporate office.  Kathy Dawson and Marilyn Lind resigned from the board after the April meeting.  Kurt Baily attended the July meeting as a guest. 

Nancy had a request for one, and possibly two, Braille Bibles, and Ann also requested one.  Two Bibles are boxed for transport to Wichita, and a set is set aside for Ann.  This leaves room on the shelves for additional books. 

Nancy reported that Logan Business Machines (who had the service contract on the copier KABVI was using) can no longer get parts to repair it.  A newer copier was provided which can be made tactually accessible, has a 10" screen display and has printing as well as copying capabilities.  KABVI could rent it for $43 per month, which is what was paid for the other copier.  Bob made a correction at the July meeting; KABVI had purchased the previous copier and was not renting it.  We were given erroneous information from Logan Business Machines.  Mikel M. noted that the building tech folk will have to set up a jack in the office where the copier is located. 

After further discussion, Mikel M. indicated that a contact with a networking company would be needed to complete the copier installation and to protect KABVI’s investment.  A certified provider was preferred.  Mikel M. will be included when setup is arranged. Paul expressed concern that KABVI will spend an inordinate amount of money for copies.  It was noted that those of us without ready transportation find the in-house possibility for producing copies to be much more convenient; Bob explained the contract is "irrevocable" and is a five-year contract. Michael B. commented he had purchased older machines with service contracts and replaced them when they couldn’t be repaired.  He is not certain KABVI saved money by doing that.

Phyllis reminded Ann that Duxbury is needed on a computer and that training and/or study should be done so the Tiger embosser can be used. Ann thought Duxbury could be installed on more than one computer as long as they weren’t being used at the same time.  Mikel M. said that was not the case.   If he is correct, KABVI will have to purchase a copy of Duxbury.

Ann discussed Unified English Braille code after questions from Paul.  Duxbury will have updated translation capability to make the gradual transfer to UEB.

Phyllis noted that one of her students has finished his study at KSSB and she will encourage him to join KABVI and perhaps do some volunteer work at the office.

Ann still needs to follow through on the Givelify email to help KABVI determine willingness to use it as a fundraiser.

Paul reported CKABVI received a letter from the state IRS stating that 501©3 organizations can now conduct raffles.

Ann summarized a convention-planning meeting held in January.  She will talk with previous scholarship winners to determine why they are not joining KABVI and what the organization can do for them.  Nancy planned to contact Anne Nielsen to see if we could do a "Chat and Chew" with TVI’s and paras at the convention to encourage more independence of blind students. 

Michael B. mentioned Wes Brummer’s recently published novel; he will be invited to talk about it at some point during the session.  Nancy reminded Ann the Tim Hornik is also interested in doing some technology training, possibly at the convention.

Michael B. reported he is acquiring things Envision can’t sell or doesn’t want to deal with giving away. He will be moving some items to the KABVI office for later recycling. 

No scholarship applications were received. The Board agreed to re-think the scholarship focus for next year.  Marilyn suggested adding universities to the locations where applications were sent.  Michael B. will email Phyllis a list of disabled student services offices around the state.  Phyllis has determined that applications should be sent in the fall with a February deadline to better meet teachers’ needs. She would like to present the application as a teaching opportunity for students.

The newsletter was discussed.  Nancy receives requests for information about people involved in KABVI and what they do.  Members’ comfort level with Facebook and its value in connecting with people was discussed. An introduction to Facebook might be a good technology activity for Friday at the convention. 

Nancy posed the need for more refined goals and a FUTURE direction for KABVI. Specific, well-defined goals are needed to direct KABVI’s future and so accurate videos can be produced.  She suggested using the bullet points of the KABVI vision statement as a basis for a video describing KABVI’s services. Ann proposed producing short, "how-to" videos targeted at parents, children, teachers, etc.  We might also be able to link to YouTube videos.  Envision advertises services through videos.  VisionAware has numerous "how-to" videos to which we might be able to link.  After more discussion, Michael B. suggested that KABVI can be a clearing-house for a variety of existing videos.  Researching other ACB affiliates as well as Face book and YouTube appeared to be good starting points.  Phyllis agreed to review state affiliates; Marilyn will check YouTube.  Michael B. will forward items from the O&M listserv as well.

Phyllis asked "How does ACB interact with the younger generation?" She suggested answering the question, "Why are we relevant?"

How and when people who join KABVI and ACB receive "The Braille Forum" ensued. 

KABVI received children’s materials from TVI (teacher of the visually impaired) Nancy Mann, who is changing jobs to work as a TVI mentor at KSSB (Kansas State School for the Blind). Paul noted the State library in Emporia is gathering some Braille books.

Though efforts were made to get the information out ahead of time, KABVI earned no money from the pizza day.  Bob reported KABVI will receive a check from Dillons for $59.31 from seven families who have listed KABVI in the community rewards program.  KABVI needs all its members and friends to become involved in the Dillons Community Rewards program. Henry mentioned people can use www.smile.amazon.com and donate a portion of each order back to KABVI which, he thinks, is already listed. If you know of other similar programs, please let us know about them. Phyllis suggested putting reminders of these types of donation opportunities on the web site.

Bob reported equipment distributed netted $800.  Also, phone costs are going up.

A discussion of Cox Contour and talking remotes/set boxes followed.  Ann reported that at ACB, an FCC official said by the beginning of 2017, all cable networks are to make these items accessible to blind/visually-impaired at no additional cost. 

Ann. reported on a variety of federal education issues concerning testing, use of Nemeth and UEB Braille codes and the Cogswell-Macey federal legislation.  It is difficult to summarize these items; a review of ACB resolutions and convention session archives will be informative.     At the AC B President’s meeting, affiliates were encouraged to put something about ourselves on the ACB website as another way of advertising our affiliate.

Convention plans are covered in another article in this issue of KABVI NEWS.

In reviewing the Friday convention format, Phyllis noted school districts might consider our meeting for in-service credits for paraprofessionals, which is a much less formal procedure than applying for CEU’s.  Ann suggested giving attendees of "Chat ‘n Chew" a free lunch as an incentive to attend.  Focus on teaching children independence can also be aimed toward parents as well as paraprofessionals, including an article for Families Together. It was agreed that an evaluation opportunity be given to Friday participants. Ann will ask Sara Stewart to promote the Envision Arts program for paras and teachers.  KABVI will purchase something from Envision to use as a raffle item.  Michael B. mentioned some dish-ware with a light and dark side combination for serving foods of various hues for folks with low vision. 

Phyllis suggested providing hand-outs about the scholarship program/teaching plan to be discussed, which will also give teachers the chance to provide feedback on materials they will have received in September.

Paul offered items for raffles, door prizes and/or goody bags.  Paul may also contribute Pebbles (hand-held magnifiers valued at $400 each as raffle items.

Carolyn explained she and Nancy are working to learn to use the ACB database because the one KABVI purchased cannot fully update information past 2015.

Nancy did a presentation for 14 students at the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum resource fair, a cross-disability group. She participated with grade school students at the Braille Camp in Topeka.

Nancy has someone who will help remove left-over items from the computer refurbishing program for recycling.  She needs to work with Mikel M. and Carolyn to determine what some things are and if they should be sold or thrown away. Ann suggested putting items which might have some usefulness on Craig’s List. Michael B. moved that people working at the office be allowed to place anything they don’t think they have a use for on Craig’s List upon consultation with a member of the technology committee.  Paul seconded the motion and it passed. 

Michael B. agreed to serve as Awards committee chair. Ann will send Nancy and Bill the current board of directors list which will note positions to be filled this year as well as vacancies caused by the resignations of Marilyn and Kathy. Michael B., Paul and Bob will help Bill get names of folks outside of Topeka who might be willing to serve and Phyllis will talk with Lisa Wondra to determine her interest in working with our library and perhaps serving on the Board. Kurt Baily expressed interest in being a board member. If you are interested in serving on KABVI’s board of directors, please call Nancy at 785-234-8449, and information will be forwarded to the nominating committee.

Paul had questions about the office phone message and the cost of the toll-free number.  Nancy reported she included a statement that, for reasons of building security, the office is open by appointment only, and she included her home phone number for "if no answer." People do use the backup number.

The post-convention Board meeting will be held November 5th


By Marilyn Lind

Fido wants to go to the grocery store.  Some people ask, "ow can my dog go with me the same as someone who has a Service dog or a guide dog?"  This is not difficult with the advent of the Internet that makes it easy to buy things online.  People are buying ID cards, dog vests, and assistance dog harnesses.  Documentation for a fake service dog, including an ID card and certification, can cost as little as $59; premium service dog ID plus vest, $129.00; a service dog leash can be added to the order.  A guide dog harness can also be purchased from some vendors The Americans with disabilities act regulations, revised March 2011, states:   "Only dogs are considered service animals.  Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure. A dog guide assists with way-finding.  The tasks performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.  Generally, service dogs – guide dogs - are allowed to go where the general public is allowed to go. 

According to the ADA, emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals are not considered trained service animals.  They are animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.  However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. 

Only two questions may be asked a person using a service dog: "Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?" and "what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?"

Fake service dogs have created many problems for trained service dogs in public settings.  They have interfered with working teams and jeopardized the team’s safety.  So please leave Fido at home, take him for a walk, take her to visit the pet store or go to a dog park for fun. For more information about service animals, visit https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html


Compiled by Nancy Johnson

*** Your vote counts! The constitutional right to vote—privately and independently— and whatever one’s political affiliation, is an invaluable cornerstone of civic participation in democracy. But for that right to truly matter, Americans with disabilities have to exercise it. A vote can’t be counted if it isn’t cast. the National Council on Disability (NCD) detailed the scope of inaccessibility in the 2000 elections: Twenty-one million people with disabilities did not vote, Dodd said. "That made the disabled communities the single largest demographic group of nonvoters in the United States of America. At that time, only 16 percent of polling places were physically accessible. And not one of the nearly 500 polling locations which the General Accounting Office (GAO) visited on Election Day in 2000 had special ballots adapted for blind voters." Things weren’t much better in 2008 when the GAO reported only 27 percent of polling places had eliminated all barriers for voters with disabilities. An open-ended questionnaire of over 900 voters with disabilities conducted by NCD after the November 2012 election indicated long lines and inaccessible voting materials make barriers to civic participation for voters with disabilities even more striking. Sadly, more than 3.2 million Americans with disabilities felt "sidelined" on Election Day according to a 2012 USA Today article. That same year voter turnout was 11 percent lower among people with disabilities than with those who are not disabled. Perhaps the best way of shifting this perception is for the disability community to mobilize by increasing the number of registered disabled voters who cast their ballots on Election Day, and draw attention to the obstacles encountered in every instance.  Thankfully, efforts to reverse these trends appear to be gaining momentum. The number of potential voters with disabilities is significant and, if successful, could easily influence the outcome of ballot initiatives and elected candidates. According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Americans with disabilities is now one in five between the ages of 18 and 64, totaling 56.7 million or nearly 19 percent of our population. That is a massive constituency - One whose influence on election results should not be "sidelined." NCD encourages all people with disabilities to register to vote and to exercise their Constitutional right to vote in the elections in November for the candidates of their



*** A visually-impaired Kingston University student unveiled her unique collection at Graduate Fashion Week in London and has been shortlisted for two prestigious student fashion awards.

Bianca Von Stempel was one of six students shortlisted for the prestigious Sophie Hallette University Design Challenge. The fashion student, who is registered blind and suffers from three conditions affecting her eyesight, bases her collection on how she sees the world. Bianca is a skilled braillist and uses braille in her fashion designs. Her dresses incorporate a quote from American author, Helen Keller, the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The quote reads: "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision." Read the full article at http://www.irishexaminer.com/examviral/real-life/visually-impaired-student-unveils-incredible-braille-inspired-collection-at-graduate-fashion-week-404085.html

*** In November 2012, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) voted to adopt Unified English Braille (UEB) as an official code for the United States. UEB is a revision and extension of the English Braille American Edition (EBAE). In November 2013, BANA, following the UEB Transition Forum consisting of delegates from 31 national organizations, affirmed that January 4, 2016 would be the implementation of the general use of UEB in the United States, replacing the current EBAE code.  The transition plan to implement the UEB in Kansas was developed with input from Kansas State School for the Blind, Kansas Instructional Resource Center, Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, National Federation of the Blind of Kansas, Teachers of the Visually Impaired, transcribers, and KSDE staff.  Complete UEB transition for production of instructional and assessment materials is scheduled for spring 2018.  The Kansas Instructional Resource Center (KIRC) will work to best meet the educational Braille needs of individual students.  For information about UEB, visit http://www.brailleauthority.org/ueb.html#skip.


It’s summertime and the time most groups take a break for vacations or a respite from the bustle of the rest of the year. I had a spree of computer issues so, if I missed your newsletter, I apologize. I know Face Book is wonderful to many, but it still eludes me!

** The Topeka Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TABVI) meets in a classroom at the Kansas Neurological Institute (KNI) and invited residents of the facility to participate in an afternoon of music. TABVI members played keyboard, guitar, and autoharp, and a variety of Instruments to shake or strike were provided so everyone could participate. Everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon.


Lucille Parli, loving wife, mother, sister, and friend died July 1, 2016 in McKinney, Texas at the age of 92. She was born October 11, 1923 in Wichita, Kansas to Charles and Alice Middleton. Preceding her in death were her parents; husband of 40 years Jack in 1989 and her sister Rosemary in 2011. Survivors include her sons, Steve Parli of Phoenix, Arizona and Frank Parli of Plano, Texas. Lucille and her sister Rosemary were born with a genetic eye problem resulting in enrollment at the Kansas State School for the Blind. Lucille learned Braille at the age of 9 and proceeded to graduate from the Kansas State School for the Blind in 1943 then went on to graduate with a BA from Friends University in 1948. She was very active politically with involvement in the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired and worked tirelessly for the Catholic charities including the Ring-a-Day program where she checked in on the handicapped and elderly. She enjoyed reading daily from The Bible, Harvard Health, Mayo Clinic, and listening to any interesting biography featuring Presidents, singers, or actors. She enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Eddie Arnold, Bennie Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Glen Miller. Memorials can be sent to Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.


Name ______________________________________

Address ____________________________________

City ___________________ State ___ Zip ________

Phone _______________ ______________________

Email ______________________________________

I am ___ Totally blind ___ Legally blind

___ Visually impaired ___ Deaf-blind

___ Sighted

___ Enclosed is $10 for 2016 dues.

___ Enclosed is $250 for life membership in KABVI.

___ Enclosed is a tax-deductible donation of $_________.

Please send KABVI News and The Braille Forum in:

___ Braille ___ Cartridge ___Email

___ Large print, ___ Regular print

___ I do not wish to receive these publications.

Please send this completed form with your check to:

Robert Chaffin, Treasurer,

1105 Centennial Blvd.

Hays, KS 67601