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 56 summer 2015 No. 3
Return to: FREE MATTER FOR
KABVI the BLIND
712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410
Topeka, KS 66603
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
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
Chairman of the Board and President
712 SW Wayne Avenue
Topeka KS 66606
SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO:
Membership Secretary, KABVI
KABVI NEWS promotes the general welfare of blind and visually impaired persons in Kansas and 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 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 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
Reflections, by Nancy Johnson, President – 4
Join us at the 95th Annual KABVI Convention, by Ann Byington - 7
Report from the Board of Directors, by Ann Byington, Recording Secretary – 8
My Experiences with Uber, by Steve Bauer – 14
Kay Arvin Recalled as a Woman of Courage, by Rick Plumlee, THE WICHITA EAGLE – 18
Tantalizing Tidbits, compiled by Ann Byington – 23
Happy Faces and Rainbows, by Nancy Johnson – 24
Chapter Chatter – 26
In Memoriam – 26
2015 Membership and KABVI NEWS Renewal – 27
BY NANCY JOHNSON, PRESIDENT
Since I last communicated with you, I feel as I think a puppy feels as it chases its tail – round and round, going nowhere, and unable to snag the target. I’m near to nipping the tip of my tail though, then perhaps I can again travel in a straight line and reach a destination.
In the office, pictures are hung, our (stuffed) dog guide has a "kennel" on the bottom shelf of the book case inside the front door, and books are being organized and categorized. Much is still to be done, but we’ve reached a point where we can be proud to show our space to visitors. I’ve answered over 60 calls for information and referral since the convention in October. Paul Berscheidt, KABVI’s webmaster, reported the number of people looking at the website is increasing.
Our annual membership roundup was completed March 13. Of the 513 folks listed in the database, only 97 are members for 2015. KABVI NEWS is a major means by which KABVI provides information. Membership is not required to receive the newsletter. Regarding the database: Our information needs a good deal of updating. My goal is to contact everyone whose name appears there to make sure we have complete records. I have questions to ask everyone. I want to know: What has KABVI done for you and what you’re now doing for KABVI? How do YOU define the terms self-sufficiency, opportunity, and quality of life? What do you think KABVI is doing to help folks achieve those goals, and what more might we do? Think about what KABVI now does – advocacy, information and referral, scholarships, assistive technology recycling, youth activities, and limited rehabilitation teaching – and what more KABVI might do in those areas, and if there are additional areas in which the organization might be involved.
I’d like to know what you’re doing for the organization now and what more you’re willing to do for KABVI. (I suspect folks are doing more than we know, and each of you deserves recognition and thanks for the work you do.) Please think about these questions and have your thoughts ready when I contact you. I REALLY DO WANT YOUR THOUGHTS!
Regarding work: KABVI is soon to undertake the sale of greeting cards, for which we’ll need everyone’s involvement. Bob Chaffin, Kathy Dawson, Phyllis Schmidt, and Ann Byington are the fund raising committee. Watch for more information as it becomes available. If KABVI doesn’t begin bringing in money, this organization will not survive. Twelve board members and a few other willing folks are not enough! We need the help of all 513 folks in our database! PLEASE HELP! Most of us know a few folks to whom we can sell a few cards. Most of us send a card now and then.
Another project being investigated is selling mammoth coloring books in doctors’ offices. These are GREAT for kids just learning to color and for low-vision kids. Mine loved them. Again – WATCH FOR MORE INFORMATION!
One more thing – please remember that you can bequeath funds to KABVI in your will. Every little bit is appreciated!
"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
JOIN US AT THE 95TH ANNUAL KABVI CONVENTION
By Ann Byington
The 95th annual convention of KABVI will be held October 16-18, 2015 at the former bank building at 800 SW Jackson, Topeka, KS, in the lower level conference center.
Friday activities at this location will begin at 11:30 AM. And end at 5:00 PM. Saturday activities will run from 8:00 AM. To 8:00 PM. There is sufficient space to hold exhibits, meetings and our banquet in the same room. Restrooms are just around the corner on the same level; guide dogs will have to cross the street to get to grass but a trash can is already in place for easy clean-up.
Hospitality and sleeping rooms are blocked at the Ramada Inn, 420 E. 6thTopeka, KS 66607; phone: (785)-234-5400. Reservation deadline is September 21st. Double queen rooms are blocked close to the hospitality room. Rates for these rooms are $99 per night; rooms with king beds are $89 per night and located in the tower which is not close to the lobby or hospitality room. Room rates include a full breakfast buffet which can be purchased by non-guests at $8.99.
The hospitality room, Room 234, has atrium seating which will allow us to spread out a bit from the actual room. We can bring in our own food and drink. KABVI will be sharing the hotel with the Texas Tech football team and the convention of the National Association of the Mentally Ill (NAMI) attendance at our convention will be an interesting experience.
Plans are to host more craft sales and workshops and to highlight our corporate office at 712 SW Kansas Avenue, Suite 410. Stay tuned for more details!
REPORT FROM THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
BY ANN BYINGTON
The meeting of the Kansas Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, (KABVI) convened April 18th, 2015 at the corporate office. Attending were: Nancy Johnson, president; Paul Berscheidt, vice-president; bob Chaffin, treasurer; Michael Byington, corresponding secretary; Ann Byington, recording secretary; Henry Staub; Bill Moore; Kathy Dawson; and Phyllis Schmidt. Mikel McCary, Marilyn Lind and Judy Davis were absent.
Fundraising ideas were discussed at length including potential statewide activities and seeking funds from outside the organization’s membership. KABVI’s major source of funds over the past several years has been bequests. KABVI encourages members and others to include the organization in their wills. After reviewing past sources of income, the board agreed to pursue sale of large-print, over-sized coloring books, and greeting cards. Kathy Dawson agreed to donate a supply of cards to KABVI because she is closing her current snack bar and moving to locations where selling these cards isn’t practical. Paul agreed to provide information on sources of the coloring books and greeting card packages. Strategies for distributing items statewide were developed and groups targeted included optometrists and teachers. Branding items with KABVI’s logo makes the organization more visible, encourages people to donate, and provides something tangible in return for their donation. . The Dillon’s online charitable option of returning a percentage of what is spent on groceries and gift cards to specific organizations was mentioned. Phyllis suggested people can donate items for her to sell at a flea market booth she will acquire later this summer. Bob suggested we invite Boy Scouts to help with our activities to earn community service badges. Ann volunteered to join the fundraising committee
Michael reported on the Legislative Seminar which he and Judy attended in late February. Michael thinks Kansas should be represented at these meetings. Issues covered included the Anne Sullivan Macey Act, legislation to enhance special education; and the demonstration project to encourage Medicare to cover low vision aids as durable medical equipment. Such aids are currently explicitly prohibited in Federal regulations. All Kansas legislative offices were visited with the most positive reception coming from Congressman Yoder who had already signed on to the Low Vision Distribution Act HB729. Congressman Yoder serves on the Board of Directors of Gallaudet University and has a good record supporting deafness and blindness issues. Michael noted his disappointment with Pat Roberts’ office who would not make an appointment with his Kansas blindness folk and, because of oil company lobbyists crowding his office, staff took paperwork but did not speak to Judy or Michael as they have done in the past.
Ann reported the space proposed in the KABVI office building, in which many members are interested in using for the coming convention, is being shown for rental, and so is probably not going to be available. Ann will look at space in another of their buildings at 8th and Jackson. She is waiting to hear from Envision regarding the Entrust meeting room which KABVI previously used. Alternatively, Nancy provided a list of potential hotels in the Salina area. Bill mentioned the Pleasantview building at KNI As another possibility. A determination of where the convention will be located will be made on April 27th, so planning for hotel space can be confirmed. Dates for this year’s convention are October 16-18.
Nancy still seeks an editor for KABVI NEWS. She removes names from the database when print or email items come back as undeliverable. The number of print items returns went from seventeen to five for the last two mailings. She expressed disappointment that she received no response to her articles delineating Newsletter editor and committee responsibilities.
Phyllis reported she received no applicants for scholarships. It is suspected students are not applying because vocational rehabilitation counts scholarship money against what VR is expected to provide. Phyllis resubmitted the application to the School for the Blind’s teachers’ listserv changing the due date to May 31. A statement was added on the application, on the website, and in the award letter sent to each recipient indicating the scholarship is for living expenses and/or other expenses not covered by rehabilitation services or other funding sources.
Nancy reported submitting this year’s membership list to ACB using our database. We have 97 paid members with 513 records in our database. The data base needs updating. A Motion was made by Ann, seconded by Paul, to upgrade the database so it can be used from 2015 and beyond, at the cost of $20 per hour. Nancy reported the server needs some maintenance and password retrieval service. Phyllis noted the need for assistance in clearing unnecessary items from the computer in her office. Michael moved that Nancy bee given the discretion to choose a contractor or volunteer help to maintain the computer system. Ann seconded the motion, which passed with two abstentions.
Phyllis and Nancy met twice with Ann Nielsen (Outreach Coordinator) and Lori Smith (Transition Specialist) at KSSB. Nancy created a document of information for the teachers of the visually impaired web site. She and Phyllis provided a career day presentation at KSSB on April 29. These and future activities are part of a multi-generational group of parents and students at KSSB and KABVI members. A related activity is a braille class for parents which Ann is setting up with potential participants in Holton and Emporia who could travel to Topeka and/or work on Skype. Additionally, a local school district is offering braille to five students during summer school and KABVI members will provide core curriculum materials assistance. Phyllis suggested creating or locating a braille/print poster for use in the classroom.
Bob noted a lack of communication from the youth connection web site and also that the site is not working. Phyllis commented that most students are now focusing on Facebook and Twitter, rather than going to specific web sites. Kathy made a motion with a second by Bill to shut down the youth connections web site. Phyllis noted that a KABVI youth connection Facebook page already exists. Michael suggested the Facebook page be addressed as a way to transition away from the web site to social media. The motion passed with an amendment to include and transfer all functions of that web site to Facebook. It was further recommended that Paul "friend" the youth connections page from the KABVI page so anyone going to the KABVI page would have access to whatever is posted to the youth connections site.
Paul reported a substantial increase of activity on the KABVI web site from 120 hits per day in the last quarter to 187 hits per day in the current one. Our Facebook page allows one to access chapter newsletters, member posts, the state newsletter and much more. Paul discussed modifications to the site to make it more screen-reader friendly while maintaining visual interest.
Phyllis commented KABVI’s library is getting organized and the office is looking very nice. Paul mentioned libraries around the state are creating low vision centers. Phyllis suggested contacting members in those areas and possibly having our members visit the new low vision sites.
The next meeting of the board of directors is scheduled for July 18 at KABVI’s office.
My Experiences with Uber
By Steve Bauer, Wichita
For blind and visually impaired people, transportation is the one problem that just never seems to really have a solution. We are always trying to find rides to work, the store, the doctor etc. For many, Uber just may be the answer to our transportation problem.
Uber is now offering its UberX service in Wichita, Topeka, Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan and Leavenworth. Uber is a service that, through an app on your iPhone, connects people needing a ride with drivers who transport people using their own vehicles. UberX relies on drivers who have relatively small vehicles such as the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord and Volkswagen Jetta. Uber says on its website that the UberX base fare in Wichita is $2. On top of that, riders are charged 20 cents per minute or $1.65 per mile, with a minimum total fare of $5. The company says prices could change during periods of high demand, and tolls or surcharges could be added. There’s also a $1 fee that goes toward the Safe Rides program.
I have used this service several times and it has been a total positive experience. The longest I have ever had to wait on a ride was 10 minutes. Generally, there’s a driver within 6 minutes or less of where I am. I’ve checked at all hours of the day and night and there’s always a driver available for a ride. The nice thing is, that all charges go direct to your credit card and no money exchanges hands. Tipping is not permitted either.
For those with some vision, once you activate the app on your phone, select your departure location and destination, you can verify how much the ride is estimated to be and then make your request for a driver. Once the driver accepts your request, then that person’s photo appears on your phone along with their name, kind of car and tag number. The driver then also sees your picture as well so they know who they are picking up. To make sure I had a good picture of myself, I did use sighted assistance. As you wait for the driver, the app will continually update, telling you how many minutes the driver is away. Then as they arrive at your pick up location, the app will announce that the driver is arriving.
I have found the drivers to be friendly, willing to help in any way they can and a great experience. If you would need assistance to a building or home, most drivers are willing to help when they can. They will not go inside a building with you, but will make sure you reach the entrance safely. All of the cars have been very clean, inside and out.
Once you arrive at your destination, the app then offers you a feedback form. You can make general comments and then rank your driver with 1 to 5 stars. Then you will receive an e-mail with all of your trip details for your records.
One question may be in the minds of those using guide dogs. Will there be a problem? I have actually used four different drivers and two of them did reference that they transported guide dogs and did not have an issue with them at all.
Everything is handled through the app on your phone and you do not communicate with a dispatcher or person. Once your ride has been accepted by the driver, either party may text or call via the app if necessary.
So if you need a ride and have the app on your smart phone, giveUber a try. If you don’t have it, go to the app store on your phone, search for Uber, and it should come up. The app is free.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly after receipt of this article, I learned Uber discontinued service to Kansas because of recent legislation requiring (as I understand it) drug tests for all transportation providers. Because transportation is a major concern for people with disabilities and others who can’t/don’t drive in Kansas, I urge you to contact legislators to assure that a possible source of reliable transportation is available. I hope by the time you read this the problem is solved.
KAY ARVIN RECALLED AS A WOMAN OF COURAGE
BY RICK PLUMLEE
THE WICHITA EAGLE, JUNE 27, 2014
Under normal circumstances, Kay Arvin’s accomplishments would have been considered remarkable. Decades before the movement began, she was an advocate for battered women. In 1978, she became the first woman to serve as a Sedgwick County District Court judge. Her wood sculptures won awards. She taught university students in Singapore. Mrs. Arvin did all these things after being blinded in an accident at the age of 23.
"She was such a woman of courage," said Sally Dewey, a former Wichita City Council member. "She was one of my heroes."
Mrs. Arvin died June 1 (2015) in Nashville, Tennessee, six days before her 92nd birthday. Her ashes (were) buried Saturday during a private memorial service at a cemetery near Pretty Prairie, about an hour away from where she grew up in Pratt County. Friends and family described her as a gracious Christian, determined, intelligent and a patient listener.
"She was unable to read faces," son Reed Arvin said, "so she read voices." Nola Foulston remembers that well. The former Sedgwick County district attorney recalled how she would announce her name whenever she and Mrs. Arvin ran into each other in the courthouse. Kay would always say, "I knew who you were. I recognized your voice," Foulston said.
In 1942, she was Kay Krehbiel and a student at Ottawa University in northeast Kansas when she met Les Arvin at a school Valentine’s Day dance. They fell in love that night, both told The Eagle for a story in 1993, but World War 2 delayed their marriage until 1944.
Army Staff Sergeant Les Arvin was serving in Hawaii in a communication unit, charged with censoring communications out of the islands. The Army didn’t have enough military personnel for the task so it began bringing in civilians. Kay applied for the job, got it and joined Les in Hawaii. After jumping through some Army hoops, they were married.
After the war, Les went to law school at Washburn University in Topeka and worked part time for the sheriff’s department. "Leftover equipment from the war had been divided up between law enforcement agencies across the country," Reed Arvin said. Included in the equipment sent to Les Arvin’s sheriff’s unit was a tear-gas canister that was made to look like a flashlight. He had one with him and put it on a mantle when he came home, Reed Arvin said. The 23 year-old Kay was looking for a flashlight, saw the object on the mantle and was sure she had found what she needed. She was left blind by the exploding canister. She became bored staying around the house, so she tagged along with Les to his law classes. She enjoyed the study and soon enrolled in law school. "Dad was a year ahead of her," Reed said, "so their courses were out of sync. He would study his stuff, then read out loud to her. That’s where she developed an uncanny memory."
Les and Kay Arvin raised their two sons, Reed and Scott, near Rose Hill and (they) became Wichita attorneys. Les, who died two years ago, also served as a state legislator.
Kay Arvin had a family practice, specializing in adoption and divorce and later mediation. She also served on the Kansas Racing Commission. She was appointed in 1978 to fill out a four-month term as a judge in Sedgwick County, but she made it clear she didn’t want to be a candidate for election to the position. Even so, Mrs. Arvin broke new ground among local judges and became one of the first female judges in the state. Kay McFarland was the first in 1971.
One of Mrs. Arvin’s many causes was bringing awareness to battered women. But she didn’t just talk about it or tell others to do something. She went into the prisons to interview women incarcerated for killing physically abusive husbands, and then represented their interests. Mrs. Arvin continued to practice law until she was nearly 80, although most of her work was pro bono in her later years, Reed Arvin said.
"Kay was a phenomenal, lovely woman, Foulston said. She was able to go to law school while blind. There weren’t many women in the (Wichita) bar at the time, probably less than 10. She got lemons and made lemonade."
"If she was having a tough day, you wouldn’t know it. She kept her house orderly, so she knew where everything was. She never, never complained about being blind or couldn’t do this or that," said Ernestine Krehbiel, whose late husband, Hal, was Mrs. Arvin’s half-brother.
She was born in Varner, about 10 miles northeast of Kingman, in 1922. Her mother died from complications in childbirth. Her distraught father, Frank Krehbiel, sent Kay and her sister, who was two years older, to live with relatives in Cullison in Pratt County, Reed Arvin said. Not long after her sister began going to a one-room schoolhouse, 3 year old Kay tagged along. The teacher finally said, "OK, pull up a chair and desk and have a seat." "She was always very intellectually curious," Reed Arvin said.
Her father later remarried and had three more children, including Hal. Ernestine first met Kay when she married Hal in 1960. "Kay was an inspiration to me," said Ernestine Krehbiel, who went on to teach high school history in Wichita and become a leader for the League of Women Voters. "Here I was young, just out of college."
She never really appreciated that her ability was because of her brilliance. She was impatient with such things as welfare and the Society for the Blind thinking, "Well, if I can do this, they could do it."
Kay and Les Arvin moved to Nashville in 2001 to be closer to family. After Les died of a heart attack in 2012, she insisted on living on her own in a one-bedroom apartment, Reed Arvin said.
Although her health was fading in the last few months, she maintained her wit to the final hour. She asked Scott Arvin to read the book of Ruth from the Bible. "Did you enjoy that story, Mom? Reed asked after he finished.
"Oh, yes, it is such a fascinating story," she replied. "I can do this," she said in reference to approaching death. Fifteen minutes later she died.
Compiled by Ann Byington
** From the ACB Leadership Listserv: Today, Netflix announced the provision of movies with audio description. The first movie, Marvel’s Daredevil, is now available. Click http://blog.netflix.com/ to learn more. Congratulations to all in ACB who have been working hard to bring this about.
** From Kim Charlson, ACB President: Your assistance is needed. Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian are working with ACB in a Structured Negotiations with Humana health care company about accessible prescription labels for their RightSource pharmacy and about plan documents. As part of the negotiations, Lainey and Linda are interested in talking to Humana members who have requested plan documents (such as explanation of benefits or initial plan documents) in an alternative format, including braille, large print, audio or electronic during the past six months. The Humana website has been designed for accessibility, so members may also get documents through the website. If you are a Humana member as described above and are interested in sharing your experiences, please contact Lainey at LF@LFLegal.com. If it is easier, you may phone her at 510-548-5062.
** Need a ride? Try Uber. Learn more in "My Experience with Uber" by Steve Bauer, elsewhere in this issue of KABVI NEWS.
HAPPY FACES AND RAINBOWS
BY NANCY JOHNSON
I have no intention of writing this article every time: but stuff happens to me, and I’m willing to share. (I know stuff happens to you, too, and I wish YOU were willing to share.)
I have two dogs I dearly love. Sidney’s a four-pound yorkie with an attitude and Frosty’s a Bichon-poodle mix that’s "so ornery he stinks." Frosty LOVES to eat paper – cash register receipts, Braille notes, toilet paper – any PAPER! He also likes plastic – including cards.
I recently had some work done in my home and had a company rep filling out paperwork. He asked to see my ID, and I gave it to him. When he got ready to write the information from the card, he couldn’t find it. He’d laid it right beside him on the couch, he said. The hunt began. Eventually I figured what happened. Sure enough! I found my ID card in the middle of the bedroom floor – one corner quite well chewed. The pertinent information is readable so I haven’t replaced the card. I have to be careful, however, to make sure no one’s secretary tries to run the card through a machine. One person got it stuck in her machine. Fortunately she got it out.
When the kids tell you, "The dog ate it," it may well be true. Frosty isn’t the first dog I’ve had that ate things he shouldn’t have. It’s frustrating when it happens but worth some happy faces later!
COMPILED BY NANCY JOHNSON
** Southwest Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SKAVI) hosted a birthday party for Joanne Martin in March. Happy belated birthday, Joanne! SKAVI members had a program of exercise in April.
** Northwest Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NKAVI) learned the importance of immunizations and also about fall hazards. Margi Bolig, wife of Norbert Bolig and a long time member and supporter of NKAVI, passed away on March 20, 2015. Norbert died February 7, 2015.
Kay Arvin died June 1, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee, six days before her 92nd birthday. Her ashes were buried during a private memorial service at a cemetery near Pretty Prairie, about an hour away from where she grew up in Pratt County. Friends and family described her as a gracious Christian, determined, intelligent and a patient listener. (See "Kay Arvin Recalled as a Woman of Courage," elsewhere in this issue of KABVI NEWS)
2015 MEMBERSHIP AND KABVI NEWS RENEWAL
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