Silhouette of people standing together

The Promoter May 2015

December 15th, 2015 by

Official Publication of the North Dakota Association of the Blind

Available in four formats: large print, e-mail, braille and cartridge

Editor: Kathy Larson              klarson@dia.net

“Not he who lacks sight, but he who lacks vision is blind.”

“We strive to enhance the way of life for people who are blind or visually impaired,

To encourage employment opportunities, and to educate the public about sight loss.”

 

Table of Contents

 

Greetings from the President 1
Note from the Editor 3
Welcome New Members 3
Members of our NDAB Family 3
2015 NDAB Convention 4
Summer Camp Will Be Here Soon 5
Member News from Around the State 7
Greetings from the NDAB PR Committee 10
Donations and Memorials 11
Netflix Begins Audio Description 11
Candy’s Corner 11
Moorhead-Fargo Vision Support Group 12
Remembering Vision 12
State Fair Parade 13
Come Help With Family Day 14
Nominating Committee Report 14
Legislative Report Spring 2015 14
Godley to Speak at Convention 15
2015 Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 17
NDAB Participation Incentive Program 19
NDAB PIP Member Report Form 20
Board Meeting February 2015 Minutes 20
Board Meeting March 2015 Minutes 23
Music for the Blind by Bill Brown 25
Farther Along the Beauty Way 26
NDAB Roster 27

 

Greetings from the President

 

Hello Team,

 

This is a great day! I spent my lunch next to an old pine tree, enjoying some good healthy vegetables as the sun shined its golden rays of light on my face. The birds were charming me with their bright songs of spring, and I get the opportunity to greet all of you with a smile and a few of my thoughts for you to ponder.

 

“Beneath the surface”

I think of NDAB Summer Camp often, but scenes like I experience at lunch once again bring years of fond memories to mind and I started wondering why? Why do people enjoy camp so much? Why do so many come back year after year? Well there are obvious answers to these questions, like “camp is fun,” “evening activities” or maybe “camp re-energizes me,” along with many other reasons that come to mind. However, what I have been pondering is what is at the core, what lies beneath the surface of these reasons for individuals to have such passion, excitement and dedication for NDAB Summer Camp? I may be wrong, but I am thinking maybe if we find the core, we find a successful way to help individuals to be more active in other NDAB activities and continue to increase & maintain membership.

“Cold Pancakes”

Camp has been successful for many years, and it seems that if we get people to come to camp they typically come back. Why? What I believe it may boil down to is “Participation.” I remember as a first-year camper, if I was not in class someone came to find me and directed me to the class I needed and, if I didn’t show for an activity Rick, Loris, Leo or someone else would find me and tell me “let’s go” or “are you doing ok, you need to be involved,” and guess what, I did. I remember one year where the week had been very busy and I was having so much fun I had stayed up until 2-3 a.m. and back up again at 7 a.m. most of the week. Finally on Saturday I was completely exhausted and I decided to sleep in, and I did. Well, guess what happened? I hear someone at the door; as I sleepily open my eyes I hear Janelle saying, “I didn’t see you at breakfast, are you doing ok?” I replied, “Yes, just tired.” She steps in the cabin and proceeds to deliver me breakfast… pancakes! Cold Pancakes! I don’t even like pancakes when they’re hot, and these were cold. I don’t know if I ate the pancakes or not, but my guess is I didn’t have much of a choice. Now this is a great memory and it makes me laugh out loud sometimes when I think about it, but what did it encourage? What did that simple act of kindness say to me? For me it said, “You are important to us and we need you to participate.” I think, no I know, it also helped me to take ownership of my own membership to NDAB and I feel this and many other similar experiences helped me to feel a part of something much bigger than myself, and has led me to the passion I now feel for NDAB today.

 

“Very Savvy”

Loris, Rick and the other past co-camp directors certainly are very savvy people. Consider how they have us participate in all of the events at camp and have instilled a sense of belonging by simple acts of kindness, expecting and encouraging us to all be a part of the group. If someone is missing from class we look for them; if someone doesn’t go to an event, we look for them, ask how they are doing, and it is encouraged and expected that everyone participate in all activities. I ask again, why is camp so successful? Camp is successful because Loris, Rick, Leo and others have strongly encouraged us to what?… “Participate.”  Participation helps us all to take ownership and responsibility; it helps us to understand we are all important, and that people care. Right or wrong, that is what I see.

 

So, where do we go from here? Well, I don’t really have the answer. However, it does lead me to more questions such as when people join NDAB, what are they hoping for? What are their expectations? I feel they may primarily be looking for help and knowledge in successfully dealing with vision loss, which NDAB is very capable of providing. I also strongly believe, and I think most of our membership would agree, that they get much more than they ever expected. But, how do we instill the values and successful attributes of camp throughout the rest of NDAB activities? Are there other more local activities we could develop to encourage our membership to become more active in their own communities? How do we provide the necessary support and encouragement from a state level to a more localized level? Or, are we already where we need to be? I don’t know.

 

“What do you think?”

As you can see, I have many more questions than I have answers. What do you think? I have been playing with the idea of developing some type of brainstorming committee to help develop ideas to take to the board to encourage participation in our local communities or statewide. To be quite honest with you, I hate committees, but I was thinking of taking such a committee to a different level, sort of breaking away from the norm to more of an environment that encourages creativity. Maybe having parameters such as “no board members allowed” sort of sounds fun to me, but those are just some thoughts. If you are interested in such a group, please contact me. I am sincerely interested in your thoughts and we will see what happens.

 

Finally, I would also like to make one request of all members. The next time you see Loris or Rick, our savvy co-camp directors, please let them know how much you appreciate them and what they do. Camp doesn’t just happen; it’s a lot of work. Thank you Loris & Rick!

 

Creating our future today, together

Mark Kueffler, President

 

 

Note from the Editor

by Kathy Larson

 

Mother Nature teased us in March; spring tried to arrive early this year, even before the designated date of spring! The meadowlarks, geese and robins came earlier than usual too. The month brought mild and warm temperatures, and for once, I thought we’d had a marvelous change here in the west! Since those days, we’ve had a bit more snow and lots of horrendous wind! Here in ND they say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes.” However, at the time of this writing, temps are near 70! I do love this time of the year and look forward to fully leafed-out trees, green grass and blooming flowers.

 

Thanks for the quotes sent in. Keep them coming. I like this one:

The folks who mind don’t matter, and the folks who matter don’t mind.

 

Loris sent these:

“A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.” -Mother Teresa
“You know you’re old when someone compliments you on your alligator shoes, and you’re barefoot.” -Phyllis Diller

 

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that colour your world. Constantly colour your picture grey, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colours to the picture by including humour, and your picture begins to lighten up.” -Allen Klein
“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” -Doug Larson

I’ll end this portion of my notes with an old newspaper clipping from years ago. The author published some counsel given him by his grandmother who had died some 60 years prior, and who had never attended school. She offered it printed on a slip of paper, accompanied by the words, “All the advice you’ll ever need to have a good life.” It is worth remembering. This is what she wrote:

“Wash what is dirty. Water what is dry. Heal what is wounded. Warm what is cold. Guide what goes off the road. Love people who are least lovable, because they need it most.”

 

Welcome New members

 

We welcome Preston Helvik and James Yesel of Bismarck, and Jessica Bolt of Grand Forks to NDAB.

 

 

Members of Our NDAB Family

 

We extend our sympathy to Char and Rick Feldman on the death of Char’s grandma. Helen Volk, longtime resident of Rugby, died peacefully January 15, 2015 when the Dear Lord reached down and picked her up in His arms and said to her, “Come with me and I will give you rest.” She passed away at Villa Maria Nursing Home in Fargo, ND, seven days before her 103rd birthday. Char was a faithful granddaughter, visiting Grandma often.

 

We extend sympathy to Janelle and Jeff Olson on the death of Jeff’s mother Ruby Olson. She passed away on January 16, 2015 at the Bethel Lutheran Home in Williston at the age of 94. Janelle was a faithful daughter-in-law, helping to care for Ruby’s daily needs as her health declined during the last 2½ years. She will be greatly missed.

 

Karlyn and Elton Frantsen and family are in need of your thoughts and prayers. Their 42-year old son was diagnosed in February with stomach cancer. Ray farms with his dad, and he and his family live in Velva. Karlyn is able to help with “grandma childcare” and whatever else the family is in need of.

 

We extend sympathy to the family and friends of long-time NDAB member, Donna Iszler. Donna Jean (Fladland) Iszler, 80, of Grand Forks, ND, passed away on Sunday, April 5, 2015 in Valley Eldercare Center, Grand Forks. Donna was born May 30, 1934 in rural New Effington, SD, and attended her first eight grades in country school, rural Roberts County, SD. She attended high school at the SD School for the Blind in Gary, SD, graduating in 1952. She then attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD earning her BA in Education. She completed her Masters Degree in Education at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks. She married George Iszler on June 2, 1959. They had one daughter, Cheryl. George died on December 23, 1989. Donna married Duane Preabt on November 23, 1991. She was employed by the SD School for the Blind from 1956-57. She came to Grand Forks to work for the ND School for the Blind in 1957 and retired in 2003, but continued part-time until 2009. She loved working with the students and teaching them music and braille. She also loved working with adults with recent visual impairments and was employed by Wyoming Lions Camp, Casper Mountain, WY, for every summer from 1980-1997. Her love of music was evident in her personal life also as she was pianist at Augustana Lutheran Church in Grand Forks from 1970-2007. Funeral Services were   April 9 at Augustana Lutheran Church, Grand Forks. Memorials are preferred to ND School for the Blind Foundation or Augustana Lutheran Church.

 

 

2015 NDAB Convention

“Back to the Future”

 

The North Dakota Association of the Blind has both a rich history and a bright future. We believe the key to our future is staying connected to our past. For that reason, the planning committee chose “Back to the Future” as the theme for the 2015 State NDAB Convention as we are returning to Jamestown, the city where the organization began

in 1936.

 

The 79th NDAB State Convention will be held on Friday, June 12th through Sunday, June 14th at the Gladstone Inn and Suites located next to the Civic Center at 111 2nd Street NE, Jamestown, ND 58401.

A block of non-smoking rooms has been reserved for the special price of $92.00 per night. Each room has a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker, hair dryer and free wireless internet. Also available in the Gladstone is Shady’s, a family style restaurant which provides room service and has a separate bar area. The Gladstone also features a pool and water slide, hot tub, game room and fitness center. If you don’t mind paying more for a room, you might want to ask about their 16 theme suites or 30 poolside rooms.

 

Historically we have loaded up and headed out to a different location for a picnic supper on Friday night. This year we have chosen to stay at the hotel to eat our meal and then invite guests for the evening. There will be a public open house “Vendors, Vision Resources and Visitors” from 6-9 p.m. Come and see what you have been missing! There will be displays and presentations from vendors showing you what products and services they offer.

 

For the first time ever, NDAB members will be allowed to reserve a table to show and/or sell their products. If you are interested, notify Sherry Shirek at sherrybeth7@gmail.com or 701-540-6356. Tables are limited and priority will be given to those with blindness related products.

 

The highlight of the evening will be a talk about “Stress Management” presented by Psychologist Dr. Cheryl Godley. Dr. Godley, her husband, and Diaz, her guide dog, are coming from Casper, Wyoming, to be our guests for the convention. Her presentation on Friday will be the first of three to be shared over the weekend. Get to know Dr. Godley by reading an additional news article within this issue of the Promoter.

 

After the opening ceremony on Saturday morning, we can all look forward to the business of our organization. Before lunch Dr. Godley will present “Adapting Emotionally to Sight Loss.”

 

Don’t miss your chance to meet and greet the Jamestown area legislators. Lunch will provide an opportunity to get acquainted while we share a meal together.

 

Saturday’s main attraction, of course, will be the banquet in the evening. There will be an Awards Reception to welcome and congratulate the scholarship and other previously announced award recipients. Have you submitted your suggestion for the NDAB Vision Statement? If you have, you may be one of the three winners announced during the banquet. We are extremely pleased to have Vince Ulstad as our guest speaker. His message “Living for a Purpose Greater Than Myself” will include his vision loss story and a message of hope for us all.

 

We will honor those we have lost in the past year during the Memorial Services on Sunday morning. Then we’ll get back to business by addressing any new business and elections.

 

Surely, you won’t want to miss out on any of the events planned for the 2015 Convention. Make your reservations today by calling the Gladstone Inn and Suites directly at phone #701-252-0700 no later than May 29th. In order to get the convention rate, tell them you are attending the “North Dakota Association of the Blind State Convention.”

 

If you are attending the convention for the first time and your registration form is marked as such, your name will be included in a random drawing for two $250 stipends. For those who wish to be included, there will also be a drawing for up to ten members to receive $100 each. In order to qualify for either of the drawings, your registration form needs to be marked as to your interest and returned by May 20th. These stipends have been made available to help defray convention expenses. If your name is drawn, you will be notified so you can finalize your convention plans.

 

“Back to the Future.” Come help us plan the future of our organization in the place where it all began.

 

Convention co-chairs:  Paula Anundson and Zelda Gebhard

 

 

Summer Camp Will Be Here Soon!

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman, Co-Camp Directors

 

The 45th annual NDAB Summer Camp will be here before you know it! Plans are underway for our camp which will be held at the Elks Camp Grassick August 9-16. If you know of someone who would qualify to attend our camp, please submit their name and phone number to Loris at (701) 774-3399 or Rick at (701) 235-3923.

 

Plans for the week are well underway. Paula Anundson and Milissa Miller are planning a “Back to the Fifties” banquet theme so start lining up your attire now. The week will be filled with interesting classes, fun activities, great fellowship and as always, great food.

 

Below are the camp guidelines:

 

NDAB SUMMER CAMP GUIDELINES

 

PURPOSE

  1. To provide an opportunity for persons who are visually impaired to come in contact with persons with similar impairments and share a common concern.
  2. To help in the process of adjusting to blindness.
  3. To provide an opportunity to learn new skills, techniques, and leisure time activities to enhance the quality of life.

 

ELIGIBILITY

  1. Must be at least 18 years of age with vision loss as the primary disability.
  2. Must be capable of participating in the program set-up for camp.
  3. Must be able to care for one’s personal needs including bathing, dressing, eating, etc.
  4. Must be physically able to get oneself around the camp grounds, with the exclusion of difficulty with mobility due to vision loss.
  5. Must be cooperative and demonstrate willingness to abide by the regulations of camp.
  6. Alcoholic beverages and/or unauthorized drugs are not allowed on the camp grounds.Any violators will be promptly sent home at their own expense.
  7. All campers must remain overnight at camp.
  8. Campers must attend the entire week of camp unless other arrangements have been made with the co-camp directors, or a situation arises, such as an illness or a family emergency.
  9. Participants must notify one of the directors if leaving the campus for any reason.
  10. Must demonstrate respect for authority.
  11. Must display consideration for fellow campers.

 

GEOGRAPHICAL ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES

  1. Any adult who is visually impaired and not a North Dakota resident but is attending a North Dakota college or university will be eligible to attend the NDAB Summer Camp at no cost.
  2. One member of ACB leadership will be eligible to attend the NDAB Summer Camp annually as a camper at no cost.
  3. Any adult who is visually impaired and who lives in another state other than North Dakota could attend camp but must pay for their room and board, which is set by the Elks Camp Grassick Director. At this time, the cost is $250. Any adult who is visually impaired and lives in a border town may attend at no cost.  Border towns include East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Breckenridge and West Fairview.
  4. Camp capacity, which is set by the Elks Camp Grassick Director, is 60 people. Residents of North Dakota would be given preference to out of state campers if the camp capacity were reached.
  5. Any member of NDAB who moved out of state but continued to pay their annual dues would be eligible to attend camp at no cost.

 

 

 

 

Member News from Around the State

 

Bismarck News

Bobby Westermeyer reported that the “Meet ‘n Eat” group met at the Golden Corral in February and Marlin’s Family Restaurant in March. He did not know where they would be meeting in April.

 

Fargo News from Shereen Faber

Hello to all NDAB members. Welcome to spring and hope everyone had a great Easter! We had a small gathering with my family, so small that we all went out to eat at a very nice restaurant to a sit down meal. Once again, my niece Acacia was here on Easter break from UND and it’s always nice to spend a little time with her.

 

We finally got our bathroom remodel finished and it is just wonderful! I have a nice big area to move around in. We have our washer and dryer on the main floor now, but it was still kind of sad to lose a bedroom. I stayed at my parents’ for about two and a half weeks and was able to come back to my new bathroom on my big turn of the decade birthday. What a great birthday gift! I thank those of you who donated money to this project; it was definitely a successful reconstruction.

 

I want to report that Kathy Johnson had a total shoulder surgery done on March 3rd. She was discharged the next day and went to her mom’s, and just after three days she was back at home. She said that she never had any pain, a little stiff and sore, but all in all it went excellent. She had her four week check-up and is doing so well that she is going to be able to start her therapy two weeks earlier than scheduled. She is sling free and went back to work April 6th.

 

In February, my Granddaughter Aubree, my mom and I went to the play “Into the Woods.” We had previously gone to the movie at the theatre and they followed the storyline very closely. The next play we went to was “Boeing-Boeing.” Elton and I took in this comedy, which was absolutely hysterical. It was a movie that starred Tony Curtis. It was about a man who had a fling going with three stewardesses at the same time and he worked around their different schedules. It was very funny to see how this complicated situation got resolved. The next play was a Tin Roof Theatre Production of “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail.” This was very serious, lots of food for thought, but also sprinkled with a little humor.

 

I am very excited to say that my brother Bruce and his whole family from Thailand will be arriving in Minneapolis June 7th and will be flying back to Thailand January 2nd. It has been 19 years since he has been home over Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we are looking forward to that. His kids will be going to school in Fargo for one semester, and they are very excited about going to school in America.

 

Hope we get lots of April showers, which is badly needed, so that we can see those Mayflowers. Looking forward to some warmer temps; talk to you next time!

 

Grand Forks News

Submitted by Ruth Phalen

We’ve had such a nice day that I think spring is here to stay and it wasn’t even very windy! Winter was mild but stayed so long. I was gone in February and March and it was nicer in North Dakota than the places I was visiting. Time is flying by and it will soon be time to meet at convention!

 

It was good to see Loris and Janelle at North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind. Mike Hoeppner and I were there to meet with Tracy Wicken and were able to spend a little time visiting with them. They had spent a couple days here, and besides getting the instructions they wanted, were able to visit with Olga Neal. Olga has quite a few visitors and enjoys them all.

 

Mike’s daughter has moved back to Jamestown from Grand Forks and he misses seeing her and his grandchildren. The convention in Jamestown will have a double purpose for him. We will make it work!

 

David McCloud keeps busy staying in shape at the Y where he is a member. He will be running the Fargo Marathon trying for a time good enough to be invited to major marathons. He already finished the race under four hours (the time one must have to qualify to go on). In his personal information that is submitted to the marathon officials he says he is a member of North Dakota Association of the Blind and that he is racing for us. On another note, we also commiserated about the chore of paying bills!

 

Dave Sundeen is doing well and looking forward to convention. I had seen both Dave and Mike (and a lot of other people) at Ski for Light. My daughter from Houston came and went with me and we did a lot of visiting which made the trip even more enjoyable.

 

Our senior support group meets monthly. In February we did a Valentine’s Day art project with Wendy, the Rehab Vision Specialist here. It’s like being back in school again – I am still in the lower grades in art – but it’s fun and we visit while we do our project. It brings out both abilities and disabilities. I missed the March meeting and at April’s meeting next week we will hear about sleep apnea   and the need for a good night’s sleep and tips for getting one.

 

The summer will be busy. I have a graduation and three weddings of grandchildren. All involve travel and good family time. Fortunately, none of the dates conflict with convention or camp so I plan to see many of you then.

 

News from the Lake Region

Submitted by Carol Schmitt

Our Vision Support Group met on January 12th, 2015. Twelve people were present. We had invited the NDVS/SB to this meeting. The presenters were Pam House, Vision Specialist from NDVS/SB and Nichole Evenson who manages the “Store.” They told us about the services NDVS/SB gives to the adult population with visual impairment. They gave a very informative presentation and it was enjoyed by all.

The February support group meeting was held on February 9th, 2015. Brenda Langerude from the Home Extension Office presented on some of the Winter Safety guidelines. I was not able to be there, but Grace said it was another good meeting filled with good information on winter safety tips.

Our next meeting was held on March 9th at the Senior Center. Brenda Langerude gave her second presentation on more safety tips, focusing on the area of safe ways to sit down, stand up, etc. It was good information to live by. Brenda will also present at our meeting in May on more safety tips.

We will not be meeting in April due to another group that will be holding their meeting at the same place, same time, etc.

Grace has said she is having a nice winter and enjoys many different activities she is involved with through her church, the Senior Center and her family.

I went to Phoenix in February for a week and had a lovely time with family. The weather was great so we took advantage and had a lot of outdoor activities. I flew from Minneapolis, so also got to spend a couple of days before and a couple of days after with my daughter and son-in-law. I also enjoy many an afternoon with my Granddaughter Sydney. We love having our little tea parties together and she loves to watch Mr. Squirrel try to get the food out of the bird feeder which is right out my kitchen window, so she can have an up front, in your face, conversation with Mr. Squirrel.

 

It has been wonderful having nice weather in March, and now, on April 7th, it is raining after having some snow this morning, and the birds are singing like crazy out there!

Hello spring! We hope to see you all at the convention in June!

 

Minot News Spring 2015

by Mary and Doug Stip

Happy spring! We hope everybody is doing well, now that the snow is melted and temperatures are warming.

 

Not too much news to report this time. Lenny Haabak is in New Jersey visiting his sister and his daughters.

 

Doug enjoyed his Ski for Light trip. He had to settle for third place in the snowshoe race this year. Maybe next year it’ll go better. Let’s hope we have enough space for more trophies! If not, well, they’ll just have to go in the garage, ha!

 

Work continues to go well for him. It’s mostly on weekends, but there aren’t as many overnights as there were in the beginning. It is much less stressful than his job at Choice Hotels.

 

We’ve been busy collecting pledges for this year’s walkathon. Once again, we have had some very generous donors.

 

Adios for now, and hope to see you all at the Convention!

 

Williston Wanderings Spring 2015

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom

Happy spring! The robins and meadowlarks are back and the trees are budding out but Old Man Winter doesn’t like to give up his control! I hope that by the time you read this, the grass is green and the lilacs are in full bloom.

 

According to Dan and Sheryl Gerhardt, they had more snow in Kentucky last winter than what we had in North Dakota. Dan was in the hospital the end of January with pneumonia but is feeling much better now. They moved into a duplex about five miles from their son and family. Building an apartment onto to their son’s home was cost prohibitive so renting was the next best option. For now, they are still using their son’s address for any correspondence. Travel plans for the summer are indefinite at this time.

 

Carol Scallon and family spent four days in rather cool Mesa, Arizona, the first week in March. During Easter break, they visited their former foster son who now lives in the southwest part of the state. Playing baseball was one of the outdoor activities they enjoyed with Travis thanks to a beautiful, sunny day.

 

Susan and Glen Jorgenson spent five weeks in their camper as they made their annual trip to the Oregon coast during part of January and February. They experienced a lot of rain during their travels.

 

Jean Cote Enjoyed having her son David from South Dakota stay with her for a week when he was back in Williston last month. She spent Easter Sunday with one of her daughters in town.

 

Brenda Bruins has a couple of weekend trips planned in May to Bismarck and Minot. She continues her work in the kitchen at a long term facility here in Williston.

 

Kathy and Stan Larson took a long road trip to Slayton, Minnesota, in February to visit their daughter, son-in-law and grandson who recently moved there from Dickinson. Lake Shetek is just across the road from their home, and they are looking forward to summer and boating season. Disney World in Florida was the vacation spot for Kathy and Stan and some of their family and grandchildren in March during the kids’ spring break. What a great trip!

 

Janelle and I spent a couple of days the end of March at the NDSV/SB working with Gary on our iPhones and with Paul brushing up on our mobility skills. Neither one of us had ever been there for any services and we found it to be very beneficial. We were able to spend time in the evening with our adopted brother Mike Hoeppner and our dear friend Olga Neal. We also got to visit briefly with Ruth Phalen.

 

We four sisters were together on Easter Sunday at Kathy and Stan’s home which is the farm where we were raised. Janelle is the chief Easter Bunny and as always, planned and executed the egg hunt outside in the snow and very cold wind. At the time of this writing, Janelle and Jeff are in Cancun enjoying the warm weather at a destination wedding.

 

I flew to Florida the middle of March to visit my son and his family. The weather was great and I spent a lot of time outdoors either sitting by their pool or at the beach watching my grandkids swim. I’ll be making a couple of train trips to St. Cloud this spring where my daughter and her family live to attend a couple of musical performances of which my grandsons are involved.

 

We hope to see many of you at our state convention in Jamestown.

 

 

Greetings from the NDAB Public Relations Committee

 

Greetings from the NDAB Public Relations Committee! Despite the cold winter that is behind us now, we have been a busy committee over these past months. We are proud to announce that we will be out there in style with our new table covers sporting a large imprint of the NDAB logo! The table covers can be used at any opportunity we have to represent NDAB to educate the public on blindness and the greatest membership organization for the blind and visually impaired in North Dakota! If you have an opportunity to represent NDAB at an event and want to borrow a table cover, please contact Sherry Shirek at 701-540-6356 to make arrangements. The PR committee also worked closely with Chairman-Allan Peterson for the 17th annual “Walk for Vision.” Members of the PR Committee helped spread the word around the state and provided supportive documentation to the five regional chairpersons hosting walk events. Some of the Publicity activities that have taken place around the state in addition to the Walk include representation at ND Vision Services/School for the Blind in Grand Forks, and a demonstration table set-up at the Gateway Shopping Mall in Bismarck. NDAB will have representation at Dakota AER held in Grand Forks this year; and at the state fair during Family Day in July! The PR Committee has also been busy writing public service announcements and press releases to spread the word about our upcoming annual state convention in Jamestown.

The current members of the PR Committee include Mary Lou Stip, Missy Miller, Jesse Shirek and myself. I ask that you consider joining our committee as we need more representation around the state from people like you who truly care about our wonderful organization and people with visual impairments. Please consider becoming a member of our committee to help us develop and implement some ways to promote NDAB, educate the public and attract the people who need us the most! Happy spring!

Sherry Shirek

Public Relations Chairwoman

 

 

Donations and Memorials

 

Since the last edition of the Promoter, NDAB has received donations totaling $830 from Fargo Gateway Lions in memory of Bob LePage, Stephen Skjei, Boeing and the Hazen Community Chest. There were no memorials sent in this past quarter.

We are very grateful to all those who so generously contribute to our organization.

Helen Baumgartner, NDAB Treasurer

 

 

Netflix Begins Audio Description for Visually Impaired

 

Beginning April 14th, Netflix expanded their accessibility options by adding audio description on select titles, with their new critically acclaimed series, Marvel’s Daredevil.

 

Audio description is a narration track that describes what is happening on-screen, including physical actions, facial expressions, costumes, settings and scene changes. Customers can choose audio narration just like choosing the soundtrack in a different language.

 

In coming weeks, more titles will be added, including current and previous seasons of the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning political thriller House of Cards, Emmy award-winning comedy-drama series Orange is the New Black, as well as Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the epic adventure series Marco Polo. Over time, they expect audio description to be available for major Netflix original series, as well as select other shows and movies. They are working with studios and other content owners to increase the amount of audio description across a range of devices including smart TVs, tablets and smartphones.

 

 

Candy’s Corner

 

I am devoting this Candy’s corner column to sharing my memories of a very special woman who passed away on Easter Sunday 2015.

 

I am trying to remember when I first met Donna Iszler. It must have been in the 1970’s, when I was a student at UND and doing some practicum work at the North Dakota School for the Blind, where she taught music in those days. I saw her in the hallways of the school, always walking self-assuredly and with grace. I could see well enough then to notice that she was always well-groomed, with her hair neatly styled. She wore dark glasses and used a white cane, so it was obvious to me that she was totally blind, but she struck me as being confident, well-adjusted and comfortable in her environment. It was also obvious to me that she was very well-respected by both students and staff. Later, when I did my elementary Ed. Student teaching at NDSB, one of my duties was to accompany younger students to music class and assist with the singing. Donna, of course, provided the leadership and the piano accompaniment. Her upbeat personality and cheerful demeanor made music class a bright spot in my day, and the children always seemed to love going to Mrs. Iszler’s music room. She knew how to make the kids laugh and how to make music interesting and fun, but she also took her art very seriously and expected a lot of the students.

 

Fast forward to the 1990’s. I was a wife and mother and living in Fargo. My own vision had been deteriorating for several years, and though various treatments were tried, there seemed to be no way to stop the progressive vision loss. One unforgettable morning, I walked into the kitchen, still half asleep, and opened the dishwasher door. I bent down and peered into the dishwasher to begin unloading it. I could see absolutely nothing. Not even a tiny glint of silverware in the kitchen light. Even though I had been gradually losing more and more eyesight, it was still a shock to me to no longer be able to see anything at all. My first thought was, “Will I still be able to be a good wife and mother?” That was what mattered most to me. My next thought was of Donna Iszler. I remembered seeing her conduct herself in a professional manner at school; I knew she not only earned a living but was also a successful wife and mother, that she owned her own home and was active in her community. Well, I thought, if Donna could do it, then maybe it was just possible that I could do it too. Knowing Donna gave me the hope and encouragement I needed at a very difficult time in my life.

 

Not long after this momentous event, Donna began a braille users’ support group in Fargo and invited me to participate. I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be about, but I agreed to attend the first session at the Fargo Public Library in 1998. Donna came to Fargo weekly for several years and met with us to encourage us in maintaining and improving our braille skills. She always made the sessions fun and interesting; I know I, for one, looked forward to each meeting. She was always encouraging and never judgmental, so we didn’t feel bad if our skills weren’t quite up to par.

 

In 2001, Donna had a kidney transplant. I am sure others will write about this event, but one of the direct effects it had on my life was that I was asked to fill in for Donna at Braille Camp at NDSB that summer, as she was still not quite ready to return to work. This experience launched me on my return to the teaching field, which was the fulfillment of a long-held dream of mine.

 

I know I would not be doing what I am doing now, teaching braille at North Dakota vision Services/School for the Blind, if it were not for Donna. She, along with others, provided the encouragement and guidance I needed when returning to the teaching field after an absence of so many years. Donna was my mentor, not only in teaching braille, but in living life. She was always so generous with her time, expertise, and support. She never made me feel like I was imposing on her or asking too many questions, and, believe me, I had a lot of questions! I will always be thankful to have known Donna jean Iszler Preabt, and I will remember her always. May she rest in peace.

 

 

Moorhead-Fargo Visions Support Group

 

This group kicked off November 2014 and continues to meet the 2nd Wednesday of the month at various locations in the community from 12:30-2:30. The group is designed to promote social networking, resource sharing and active living for individuals who are visually impaired. Todd Fahlstrom leads the group and other members have initiated several activities to engage more individuals within the community. The meetings have been well attended with approximately 18 or more gather for the monthly luncheon meetings. The group went rock wall climbing on February 7th at MSUM Wellness Center. An iPhone user group/technology group and a walking group are starting, and other special activities being considered are horseback riding, roller skating, tandem biking and camping. For more information, please call Todd at (218) 443-1499 or send email to todd.fahlstrom@usfamily.net

 

 

Remembering Vision

by Alexandra Engraf and Paul Griffin

 

The North Dakota Association of the Blind (NDAB) wants to hear from you… about your vision. Specifically, NDAB would like you to share your ideas on a vision statement for the organization.

 

In a previous edition of the Promoter, we provided you with a rather extensive amount of information regarding the purpose and construction of organizational vision statements. In this edition we would like to send you a friendly reminder about the contest NDAB is hosting. We are asking for your ideas, input and active participation in the process for the identification and adoption of the NDAB’s Vision Statement. Not only will your assistance and involvement be appreciated and valuable to the organization’s future, but also, if your vision statement is chosen (or you come in second or third) you will be rewarded with a cash prize.

 

Judging Criteria

The judges will be looking for:

  • A concise statement (no more than one or two sentences). Can it be easily communicated and understood?
  • A clear and understandable description of the purpose of the organization – reflecting the groups’ core values and beliefs. What does the organization ultimately wish to achieve or accomplish?
  • A realistic and inspiring view of the future. Does it tell everyone what the future will look like if NDAB is successful?

 

Rules and Guidelines

  • This contest is open to ALL NDAB members.
  • Any and all ideas are welcome.
  • The contest will be judged, and a winner will be determined.
  • Cash Prizes will be awarded:

A $100 prize will be given to the first place winner;

A $75 prize to the second place winner; and

A $50 prize to the third place winner.

  • The deadline for the contest is May 15, 2015.

 

This is a very real opportunity for you, as a member of NDAB, to help clarify and set the focus and efforts of the organization for the future. The board is looking forward to viewing all of the prospective vision statements.

 

Please submit your vision statements, possible ideas and any questions about the contest to:

 

Paul Griffin

3130 Nevada St.

Bismarck, ND 58503

Paulg@agree.org

 

Alexandra Engraf

1303 8th St. NW

Hettinger, ND 58639

Alilengraf@hotmail.com

 

Please assure that your submissions via E-mail or mail specifically indicate “NDAB Vision Statement Contest,” either in the subject line or in the contents of the message.

 

We cannot wait to see what your ideas have in store for the future of the NDAB’s vision!

 

 

State Fair Parade

 

The State Fair Parade team is in place! Watch the State Fair Parade on KXMC-TV July 18th. Contact Evelyn Hildebrand at (701) 839-3431 if you would like to participate.

 

 

 

 

Come Help with Family Day at the North Dakota State Fair!

by Doug and Mary Stip

 

Come to Minot to the fair, and help NDAB get the word out about what we do!

 

The North Dakota State Fair is the state’s showcase event, and draws upward of 200,000 visitors over nine days. This year’s State Fair is July 17-25, and for the first time NDAB has applied to have a booth during Family Day, which is Tuesday, July 21st. You can help! The hours are 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

 

The gate admission for Family Day is half-price with a Coke product. Please contact us if you would like to help. Our number is (701) 839-4138.

 

 

Nominating Committee Report

by Paula Anundson, Nominating Committee Chairperson

 

The following is a list of candidates for positions to be voted on at the 2015 NDAB State Convention in June.

Board of Directors – Carol Schmitt

Editor – Kathy Larson

ACB Delegate – Loris Van Berkom

Alternate Delegate – Mike Hoeppner

This report will also be published in the “Call to Convention” packet.

Note: Nominations for each position can be made from the convention floor.

 

 

Legislative Report Spring 2015

by Allan Peterson

 

“Show me the money” is a memorable line from the movie “Jerry Maguire”; the movie is an entertaining comedy about a sports agent who represents professional athletes. In light of the reduction in projected income from the oil extraction tax, this line “Show Me the Money” might aptly be used to describe the discussion that’s presently going on in the North Dakota Legislature to address the appropriation of funds from the state’s coffers. As you are aware, the price of gasoline has dropped significantly, which of course has its many benefits to us as consumers; however, because a lower price of gas is directly correlated to a lower price for crude oil, it’s not so good for projected income that the state collects from the oil industry. As you may have heard, if the price of crude oil remains below a specified level and length of time that were made in agreements with the oil industry, the state could lose millions of dollars that otherwise would have been available to help support programs that are funded by North Dakota state government.

 

When the last legislative report was written for the Promoter, the North Dakota Legislature had just convened its 64th session in January. At present in April, the Legislature is in the final third of its session when conference committees from the House and Senate are meeting to come to an agreement on their differences on versions of the same bill. Conference committee time is often described as the most intense and difficult time of the legislative session, particularly for members of the Appropriations Committees in both chambers of the Legislature because that is when the versions of bills for budgets that fund the various agencies of state government for the next two years need to be finalized. Because the Income or money from the oil extraction tax is projected to be less than it was last fall, many legislators are proposing to cut the budgets for many agencies, particularly so for the Department of Human Services, which could in turn significantly affect the lives of many individuals who rely on the programs that are funded by this state agency.

 

Collectively, during this legislative session, Zelda Gebhard, Donna Hepper and I were at the Capitol on four occasions during this session to testify, visit with legislators, listen and be seen. Believe it or not, the activities of testifying, visiting and being seen are all a part of the advocacy process at the Capitol. Our testimony and advocacy were specifically directed toward the appropriations for the Older Blind Program administrated within the Department of Human Service’s and for the appropriation for North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind that’s administrated within the Department of Public Instruction. NDAB had representation for a fifth time at the Capitol as we had a booth at the Disability Awareness Day held on Thursday, February 12th. This event was sponsored by the North Dakota Disability Advocacy Consortium of which NDAB is a member. The day was very well attended by those at the Capitol and the general public.

 

Our advocacy also included providing written testimony to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees to urge adoption of a guaranteed state appropriation of $12.5 million to support the operation of public transit service providers in North Dakota for the 2015-2017 biennium. The guarantee of $12.5 million to help subsidize public transit services in North Dakota was the figure that the state transit coalition was hoping to secure from this legislative session.

 

To help keep in touch with happenings during this legislative session, Janelle Olson and I have participated in weekly meetings of a statewide legislative working group that is hosted over the Interactive Video Network (IVN). These working group meetings are held on Friday afternoons and are hosted by Janelle’s employer, North Dakota Protection and Advocacy (P&A). The purpose of these Friday afternoon sessions is to have the opportunity to gather and share information about legislative issues that affect persons with disabilities that are being addressed by the legislature. I have found these meetings to be very informative, and I commend the staff in the P&A office in Bismarck for having done an excellent job of monitoring and offering analysis about disability-related legislation to those of us who have an interest in this information!

 

As a citizen, I have also attended a number of our local Fargo area legislative forums that are always held during the legislative session. I admit I’m a bit of a political junkie – I do find all of this very interesting and also sometimes quite entertaining?

 

At this point, remarks about the outcomes from this legislative session would only be speculative in character; however, we should soon be able to provide a greater degree of analysis of outcomes of the session because there are only ten more or so working days left before the legislature needs to adjourn. We know that this is the case because the State Constitution mandates that the North Dakota Legislature must complete its business in no more than 80 days, and so far they’ve spent about 65 days in session. So, in the next report, I hope to share more with you about results from this legislative session, particularly as they may affect people with sight loss.

 

 

Godley to Speak at Convention

The following is to serve as an introduction to Dr. Cheryl Godley who will be speaking at the 2015 NDAB State Convention; we thought you might like to “meet” her before you arrive at convention. She shared the following short biography with us:

“Dr. Cheryl Godley is a psychologist in Casper, Wyoming. She has worked at her private practice, Windy Ridge Psychological Services, since 1996. While she practices as a generalist in psychology, she has particular interest in issues in psychology related to women’s issues and disabilities.

While in graduate school, Cheryl was the recipient of the Floyd Qualls Scholarship from the American Council of the Blind.

Cheryl developed a protocol for assisting handlers following attacks on dog guides. This protocol was published in 2011 in the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. The protocol was presented in 2012 at the International Mobility Conference in New Zealand and the International Guide Dog Federation in Paris in 2012.

Cheryl has worked as adjunct faculty at Casper College. She is a facilitator for Living Well with a Disability. She has provided in-service training to staff at Wyoming Independent Living Rehabilitation on various topics including stress management, grief and loss related to disabilities and sensitivity awareness in working with individuals with disabilities. Cheryl also has served on the Montgomery Trust for the Blind and presently serves as the Chair on the Wyoming SILC (State Independent Living Council) which develops and monitors the State Plan for Independent Living for the state of Wyoming.

Below is the article describing the incident that Dr. Godley and her dog, Diaz, were involved in which led her to develop the protocol for assisting handlers following attacks on dog guides. The article first appeared in The Casper Journal on Saturday, August 14, 2010. (Edited in length for publication in the Promoter.)

Guide dog in Wyoming attacked by another dog, illustrates financial ramifications of an injured guide dog

On her way home through Nancy English Park on the walking path with her guide dog, Diaz, Cheryl Godley heard a woman yell, “Get back over here!”
“Before I knew it, and I didn’t even see it coming,” Godley said, “this big black dog was on top of Diaz and was just going after him.”
The attack came May 26, weeks after the yellow lab graduated from the school at Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, Calif.
The woman calling the attacking dog pulled it away from Diaz by the collar while also holding the collar of another large, brown dog.
Godley asked for her name, but the woman walked away with the two dogs, leaving Godley n who is legally blind – alone with her injured guide. Not feeling any wounds or blood, she walked home with Diaz and called the police and the guide dog school. No one witnessed the attack and any information about the dog and owner remain unknown. Anyone with information about this attack are asked to report it to the police at 235-8278.
“It was terrifying,” Godley said. “My dog getting attacked in some ways felt like an attack on me because he really truly is an extension of me and my eyes, and my safe travel.”
Petting Diaz later at home, “I realized he was wet and I realized that it was blood. It took a while for the blood to seep through his fur where I could feel it.”
She took him to the vet who treated a puncture wound to his head, a tear in his ear and prescribed antibiotics.
Guide dogs are trained to diffuse situations in which another dog approaches in an aggressive manner. “In this case, there was absolutely nothing before the attack,” Godley said, “and those are the scary ones. From the front, the dog jumped on Diaz without any kind of notice, any kind of communication, so there was no opportunity for Diaz to show that he is very passive. That’s frightening.”
Adding to her concern is a study which found that 22 percent of the dog attacks on guide dogs recur on the same dog, by the same attacking dog, Godley said. Even after she knew Diaz would recover physically, she didn’t know if he could still be a safe guide to get her to work the next day, if they would have to return to California for retraining or if she would need another dog.
“We were very fortunate,” Godley said. “It could have been a lot worse.”
“People don’t realize that a dog attacking a guide dog can ruin its career,” Godley said.
In the worst case scenario, the dog is physically or emotionally unable to be a safe guide dog, according to a Brian Frances, a representative of Guide Dogs for the Blind. The cost of replacement is about $65,000.
He cited a survey, conducted by a consumer group called Guide Dog Users Incorporated, which showed that 42 percent of guide dog users have experienced some form of attack, and 89 percent had experienced some form of interference from another dog while using their guide dog on a public walkway.
“Cheryl has been lucky in that Diaz seems to have shaken off this incident,” Francis said, “That’s not always the case.”
Guide Dogs for the Blind is a non-profit organization which provides guide dogs at no cost to the owners. Replacing or retraining a service dog, however, can cost an owner through travel costs and time lost at work.

Godley paid the vet bills and has spent hours on the phone with a trainer from the school, who will visit in Casper to ensure Diaz remains a safe guide dog. Their graduate assistance program covers the costs of this evaluation and Diaz doesn’t require retraining on campus, saving Godley a trip.

Diaz could have grown afraid of his harness, the route or even become aggressive toward other dogs. With a dog so young – he turned two June 30 n and so early in his career, it could have left a lasting negative impression.

Diaz shows a heightened awareness of other dogs now, but otherwise has handled the attack well. Both dog and owner work hard to counter their feelings about the attack. Godley also feels a little more anxious around other dogs now, but overcomes it so that Diaz won’t sense it and react negatively.

“When we talk about teamwork between a guide dog and a blind person, it truly is,” she said. “We feel each other out all the time and that kind of communication becomes very clear between us. I feel him respond through the harness so I can tell when a dog is around. I can feel it in his body and his movement.”

A common effect from an attack is that the guide dog becomes fearful of other dogs. “It may stop working; it may try and avoid the dog,” Francis said, “and potentially put the guide dog user into some danger. It’s pretty severe n those emotional impacts as far as the dog and the person are concerned.”

Any time period between recovery, retraining or replacement means that “the person is losing their primary mobility aid,” Francis said. Sadly, he has seen physical and emotional effects necessitate several guide dogs’ early retirement.

“That’s pretty devastating to the guide dog user as you can imagine,” Francis said.

Now that you have met Dr. Godley, you will probably agree that her professional credentials and personal experiences have given her great insight. Come to convention to hear the rest of the story.

 

2015 Convention Planning Committee

 

2015 Black Hills Regional Ski for Light

by Jesse Shirek

 

Ski for Light is an annual event that takes place in South Dakota’s beautiful Black Hills where people who are blind, visually impaired and physically impaired have the opportunity to take part in cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobile rides. The participants who are blind or visually impaired team up with experienced guides who describe the changing terrain, which enables the participant to experience true freedom on the slopes and trails.

 

The event takes place at the Terry Peak Ski Resort for downhill skiers and Wharf Resources Area for cross-country skiers and those who snowshoe.

 

The dates for this year’s event were January 26th through the 29th. The bus departed from Grand Forks the morning of Sunday, January 25th. The bus made stops in Fargo, Jamestown, Bismarck and Dickinson to gather an enthusiastic group of participants and volunteers.

 

The weather this year was amazing for January, yet not ideal for skiing. Temperatures range between 30° and 70° throughout the week. The region still contained a somewhat satisfactory snowpack again this year considering the abnormally warm temperatures.

 

The hosts were generous with meals that were provided. Cross-country skiers were fed at the Warf Resources site with meals consisting of barbecued pork sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, chicken tortilla soup, beef stew and chili. Just in case somebody was to get hungry throughout the day there was also a large sampling of fried foods including egg rolls, fried broccoli and French fries.

 

The evenings were filled with a flurry of activities including: an all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet, a bonfire at Warf resources, a slot tournament, karaoke, abundant live music and dancing.

 

I’m sure that if you talk to one of the participants or volunteers you will hear many stories about the fun that took place at this year’s event. I have a couple of short stories of my own that I would like to share. This year I decided to skip downhill skiing because I did not want to take any unnecessary risks after my eye surgery. I spent most of the week snowshoeing. On Tuesday afternoon BY who organizes the cross-country area decided to take a group of us, including my wife Sherry, on an off trail challenging snowshoe adventure. He led us through a beautiful meadow filled with white birch, Aspen and evergreen trees. The gorgeous landscape was described to us as we walked. We were given a brief history lesson about the mining area and simultaneously we took the opportunity to take in the beauty of the natural surroundings. We were led to a very steep ravine, which we walked down while holding our breath. We found ourselves at a portion of the ravine that was very steep and Sherry and I were encouraged to slide down the hill on our butts. It was amazing how fast you can travel down a hill when you wear shiny polyester snow pants. If you haven’t had the opportunity, I in courage you to try it yourself. I felt like I was five years old all over again, but I digress. We finally made it down the hill where we found ourselves in a beautiful valley surrounded by hills; the hills were covered with trees, the son was setting, and if that wasn’t enough, we went on this adventure in T-shirts. That’s right… T-shirts. The temperature was 70°. It was one of those moments in life that I will never forget. If that wasn’t enough, I was able to celebrate my Ski for Light one year wedding anniversary with Sherry during the Wednesday bonfire. We shared a toast with our ski guides Tink and Dale, who were a part of our wedding. We did our toast in front of a 30-foot bonfire during sunset. The moment was absolutely beautiful. The fire was swirling and dancing with the blowing winds. The movement of the fire mimicked the way my heart felt the previous year in the moment when I married Sherry.

 

The event was capped off with an awards banquet held at the Deadwood Mountain Grand Event Center. Congratulations go out to the many North Dakota participants and guides who received recognition. Watch for the results to be listed on the Black Hills Regional Ski for Light webpage www.bhsfl.org under race results.

 

The North Dakota group had the honor of presenting the Dave Sundeen Golden Hose Award, which is presented annually to a participant, guide or volunteer whose personal contribution has positively affected and impacted the North Dakota residents taking part in the event. This year’s recipient was Shawn Gunderson who has coordinated the distribution of cross-country skis, snow boots and snowshoes at the cross-country area for many years.

 

The participants, guides and volunteers would like to extend a warm “thank-you” to the North Dakota Association of the Blind (NDAB), Judy Iten of Judy’s Leisure Tours of Fargo, Dorman Bus Service, Skip our bus driver, the North Dakota School for the Blind Foundation, Horace Lions Club of Horace, Red River Lions Club of Grand Forks and North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind. We are grateful for the financial contributions, organizational efforts, collaboration and coordination that make this trip possible.

 

Make sure to mark your calendars for the 37th Black Hills Regional Ski for Light event, which is scheduled for January 27th-30th, 2016. If you or someone you know is interested in participating or volunteering at next year’s event, please contact Jesse Shirek at 1-800-421-1181 to learn more about the event. You can also visit www.bhsfl.org for online registration and information. Keep in mind that charter bus transportation to the event is available for a very small fee from the following cities: Grand Forks, Fargo, Valley City, Jamestown, Bismarck and Dickinson. We hope to see you on the bus next year!

 

 

What Do You Do For NDAB?

Participation Incentive Program, 2015

You do a lot for the organization and we want to recognize your efforts.  Most of us just do what we do without giving it a second thought. You may be shocked when you start writing it down to see all the ways you have promoted NDAB and helped others with vision loss over the past year. The Participation Incentive Program provides an exciting opportunity for you as a member to make a real difference in your organization, earn recognition and cash too!

The incentive program is quite simple and focuses on NDAB’s priority areas: (1) Increase Participation at NDAB events, (2) Membership Growth, (3) Increased Fundraising and (4) Public Awareness and Education. Educate about vision loss and let people know about NDAB by giving a presentation or talking to a group or organization with 10 or more people present. Or accomplish the same objectives by writing an article for a newspaper or newsletter or organizing and manning an NDAB display or booth at an event. It is a fun way to guarantee that NDAB will continue to positively change the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. You can make a difference!

Rules

  • New members signing up at Camp andFamily Adjustment Seminar do not count towards membership points
  • Board members are disqualified from participating in Incentive Program.
  • To be considered for awards and prizes you must complete Participation Report with points earned and submit prior to June 1st.
  • Materials are available for Public Awareness and Education activities: fact sheets, handouts, brochures, display case…

 

Prizes

  • First Prize for the most points – 1 night at convention or $100
  • Second Prize – $50
  • Third Prize – $25

Awards will be presented during the banquet at the state convention.

 

The reporting form may be found below, on the website or by requesting one from Membership Chair, Zelda Gebhard 8169 66th St SE, Edgeley, ND  58433, phone 701-493-2399.  After you have filled out your form, mail to Zelda at the above address before June 1.

 

 

NDAB Participation Incentive Program

Member Report 2014-2015

Walk-a-thon

____I participated in an NDAB walk-a-thon (5 points)

People I brought to the walk-a-thon (1 point each)

___________________________, ___________________________, ___________________________, ___________________________

Membership

New members I sponsored (5 points each)

___________________________,  ___________________________,

___________________________,  ___________________________

(Sponsorship of 3 new members = 1 free year of membership to NDAB)

Member I sponsored last year who renewed membership this year (10 points)

____________________________, ___________________________

Sponsored member who attended NDAB event (5 points each)

____________________________ Camp___  Convention___  Walk-a-thon___

____________________________  Camp___ Convention___  Walk-a-thon___

Fundraising

Amount raised  $____________($50-100 5 points, Each additional $100 5 points)

Public Awareness and Education

Presentation given to ________________________(organization or group >10 people) 5 points

Booth or Display at___________________________(health fair or other event)

5 points

Article written for publication __________________(in a newspaper or newsletter)

5 points

Reporting Member___________________________________

Total Points Reported __________

 

 

Board Meeting February 8, 2015 Minutes

 

The Executive Board met on Feb. 8, 2015 via telephone conference. The meeting convened at 6:43 PM with the following in attendance. Mark Kueffler, Helen Baumgartner, Zelda Gebhard, Janelle Olson, Sherry Shirek, Allan Peterson, Donna Hepper, Michelle Zentz and Dianne Giessinger.

President Mark asked if there were any additions to the agenda. Mary Lou Stip had requested that discussion regarding what to do with the Dubbing Machines now that we are going digital with the Promoter. In addition, she requested discussion about again participating in the ND State Fair in Minot with a booth. Michelle Zentz wanted to add discussion regarding our partnership with the Lions Foundation Video Magnifier Program. Allan moved to accept the agenda with these additions and Donna seconded the motion. Board voted and motion passed.

Secretary’s Report: Dianne Giessinger

Dianne reported that she has been sending out NDAB sympathy cards to several of our members who have lost family; which included two of our Board members. She asked to have a list of our membership sent to her with addresses as this would make finding the proper address easier. Zelda said she would do this.

Treasurer’s Report- Helen Baumgartner

Helen reported $83,321.93 in the checking and $173,996.82 in the Investment funds. Our CD is not due until Jan. 4, 2016.

Helen has our Amazon Smiles set up but has not heard of any contributions from them yet. Sherry suggested ways that we could market this to make this more well-known would be to add Amazon Smiles to our Board Members signature, brochures and other NDAB materials to help get the word out that we can now accept donations from them.

Financial Report- Allan Peterson

We have received $4025 from Lions Clubs—- $7850 from Gaming —- $2703 from a Walk-A-Thon and $505 from members and some miscellaneous funds for total of $16,782

The Walk-a-Thons are scheduled for April 25, 2015. Paul Olson offered to head up the Grand Forks area. Fargo is going to be able to use the NDSU Track. Genie Lang and Donna Hepper have agreed to be Walk- A- Thon Chairs for the Bismarck walk. Allan is still working on leaders for the other cities.

Family Adjustment Seminar- Janelle Olson

There are no updates.

Legislative- Allan Peterson

Allan and Zelda have been following three appropriations bills:

  1. The Older Blind Program through Department of Human Services. Donna and Allan testified for this bill on January 19th.
  2. ND Vision Services/School for the Blind – Allan and Zelda have testified in support of appropriation as proposed by the governor.
  3. Transit Services- from state funding

Allan and Zelda will be going to Washington DC to support the coverage of low vision aids by Medicare. This was not acted upon last year so must be re-enacted this session. They will also be attending the ACB mid- year meetings and a trip to Capitol Hill.

Janelle informed the Board that Protection and Advocacy is sponsoring Legislation reports every Friday from 3:15 PM to 4:45PM in several cities throughout the state- Williston, Minot, Valley City, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Fargo. They are transmitted through IVAN.

Sherry expressed an interest in becoming involved in the legislative issues and asked to be timely informed of events so that she could attend.

Allan and Zelda have in the past and currently are the NDAB representatives at the ACB midyear meetings including The Affiliates President’s meeting and the Legislative Seminar.

Membership Report- Zelda Gebhard

There are no new members since our last board meeting. However, we are in the renewal process now.

179 total members—- 129 active members —-1 junior member—3 lifetime members— 46 delinquent members , their dues were not in by Feb. 1, 2015 Zelda is sending out a 2nd notice of dues due to these members.

Participation Incentive Program- Zelda—nothing to report

Public Relations Committee- Sherry Shirek

Sherry reported that she has read over the Strategic Report and noted that there was reference to updates needed on various materials such as logo and questioned whether this should be done first, before we go forward with a screen for publicity. Discussion followed regarding a screen vs. another display case. The board had earlier approved Sherry to take funds out of her PR budget.  Michelle suggested that the first step might be to write guidelines for our NDAB Public Relations Committee before we proceed with a new screen. Mark expressed that he has complete trust in Sherry’s judgment on a screen or a case, which ever she feels would be appropriate and to use the funds in her PR budget.

Strategic Planning-

Sherry has taken over Goal 4. Sherry expressed concern over the price of the bids to update the website. She feels they are way too high for what they propose to do. She talked about the Discussion Board that was proposed for the website stating that it will cost a lot and that it is outdated technology. The Discussion Board is also hard to navigate with a screen reader and very cumbersome to go through with one. She thought that Blogs etc. would be more effective for our group and cost a lot less. Discussion on the website to have perhaps one general access section and one that is password protected. Mark suggested getting the various proposals together for what we would want the website to include.

Goal 1 – addresses NDAB Forms

Zelda has changed the membership and Members renewal forms to reflect updates.

Goal 2 – convention guidelines- being addressed with the suggestions given by Missy Miller for the 2015 convention

Goal 3- Allan no new updates

Old Business:

–         Convention: Zelda, we have received the price for a standard room, $92.00 per night

The open time for the Public will be after the meal on Friday night at the hotel    where the vendors will be available than as well as on Saturday.

–         Lions Preschool Screening machines- Upon Mark’s request Pat provided a list of needs that are associated with the administration of the Program. Michelle moved that we give an initial donation of $500.00 for the Program and include $500 in the budget to be reviewed annually by the membership at convention.

–         Video Magnifier Program- Michelle moved that the annual budget include $2000 for purchase of a video magnifier as part of NDAB’s partnership in the Video Magnifier Program. Zelda seconded the motion, vote taken and motion was approved.

New Business

Conflict Resolution Policy

Michelle stated that in the spirit of open communication and respect we need a clear policy. Zelda read the complete Policy as put together by Michelle. After the reading, Michelle suggested that the name be changed to Dispute Resolution Policy so this would not be confused with Conflict of Interest issues.

Motion made to change the name with a Do Pass recommendation to be made to the membership at the convention.

Dubbing Machines

There was discussion as to what to do with them since we have gone digital with the Promoter. Resulting in a decision to keep them for 6 months, so we can see how well digital will work out. If Mary Lou Stip wants to have the machine taken out of her house, Janelle will pick it up next time she is in Minot.

Eye-Link

Eye Link is an organization in Minnesota that helps obtain assistive technology. This includes individuals with VI of all ages after all other resources have been explored with no success. In other words, it is the last change attempt to get the technology to individuals with vision impairment.

They are looking to expand into ND. This is an all-volunteer organization. At this early organizational stage, they are looking for names of individuals to be on the ND Board. They can be contacted at www.Eye-Link.org. Interested individuals should contact them. Mark will inform the Fargo, Valley City meeting that is upcoming if any of them might have an interest.

State Fair Booth- Mary Lou Stip has headed this up in the past and is interested in doing this again. Board feels it is a great PR opportunity. There is no charge for having a booth there. Sherry will contact Mary Lou regarding this PR event.

Announcements- none

Next Board meeting is March 29, 2015 at 6:30PM

Convention Planning Meeting is March 4, 2015 at 6:30 PM

Strategic Planning meeting is March 15, 2015 at 6:30 PM

Motion to adjourn and meeting adjourned at 9:23 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Dianne Giessinger, Secretary

 

 

NDAB Board Meeting 3-29-15  telephone conference

Members present: Mark Kueffler, Donna Hepper, Zelda Gebhard, Sherry Shirek, Helen Baumgartner, Janelle  Olson, Allan Peterson, Michelle Zentz, Dianne Giessinger

Guests: Candy Lien, Paula Anundson, Tracy Wicken

Meeting open at 6:30 PM

Mark opened the meeting with a Welcome to everyone and thank you to our guests for their time

Michelle asked to have the delegate to the ACB convention added to the agenda

Nominating Committee Report: Paula Anundson

The following members have been contacted and agreed to run:

Board member: Carol Schmitt

Todd Fahlstrom wants to give it some thought- Allan questioned residence in Minnesota- Michelle checked and stated that the By Laws state that a board member must be a ND resident

Editor: Kathy Larson

Delegate: Loris Van Berkom

Alternate Delegate- Mike Hoeppner

Robert (John) LePage Report Award- Candy Lien

6 nominees this year- Candy pleased with the amount of interest

One nominee stood out as the kind of person that exemplifies the type of person that  this award recognizes, in honor and memory of Robert  (John) LePage

The candidate is Kathi Range from the Mandan Dacotah Lions group

Kathi works behind the scenes doing a variety of kind acts for individuals with vision impairment such as picks up groceries, clears parking places of snow in the winter, gives rides to doctor appointments, shops for those unable to get out, picks of eye glasses from many drop off locations and many other acts of kindness.

The trophy for this recognition will be presented at the convention in Jamestown

Scholarship Report- Tracy Wicken

5 candidates applied and 3 qualified

$1000 scholarship to Preston Helvik- Preston is a junior attending the University of  Mary, studying Nursing

$500 to Ali Engraph- studying clinical psychology at University of Mary

$500 to Jessica Bolt- Masters of Special Education with emphasis in Education of Visually Impaired individuals

Emma Skogen Award

2 applicants-

$1000 award to Cole Roberts- freshman at Bismarck State College, working on a counseling degree

Tracy will send letters to everyone that applied and inform them that they will be given a one year free membership to NDAB and a stipend of $250 to attend the convention

Zelda also informed Tracy to inform the scholarship recipients that the social hour before the banquet this year is in honor of the scholarship and award recipients

Michelle moved to approve the Scholarship Report, Donna seconded the motion. Motion voted on and passed

Secretary’s Report- Dianne Giessinger

There have been no deaths of any of our member’s families since our last meeting so no need for sympathy cards

Dianne made a request to have a brief pause after reports to see if any clarification is needed for sake of ease in getting minutes accurate- agreement for request

Treasurer’s Report- Helen Baumgartner

Helen reported the current checking account balance as well as the Investment account

Financial Chair Report: Allan Peterson

Walk –a-thon update: walks are set for Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, Williston and Fargo – some contributions have already come in

Sherry has sent letters to the members with email addresses to remind them to participate in the walk –a-thon

Allan has received some funds from Lions Clubs and Charitable Gambling sites as other financial funds collection

Legislative Report- Allan Peterson

There are a mandated 80 days in session- they are saving 5 days in case there is a need to work more on the oil extraction tax issue

Allan and Zelda testified for NDVS/SB both in the House and the Senate

Funding for Transit Services is still being worked out

Disability Awareness Day- Booth set up in Bismarck by Zelda and Donna, many attended and they felt it was well received

Family Adjustment Seminar: Janelle Olson

Nothing new to report

Membership Report _ Zelda Gebhard

No new members to report- second reminders sent out on Feb.9 to those members who did not get their 2015 dues paid yet

169 total members- 147 active members- 3 lifetime members- 1 junior member-18 delinquent members

Participation Incentive Program- Zelda Gebhard

Articles were in the Aug. 2014 and Nov. 2014 Promoter, and will be in the May 2015 Promoter along with the report form

Publicity Report- Sherry Shirek

The focus at this time is on obtaining 5 table cloths with the NDAB logo and the NDAB name written out – the Inc. will not be included on the print

Also looking at clear brochure holders

Sherry is also working on an article for The Promoter to try and get membership from around the state on the PR committee

Sherry will also represent NDAB at the Dakotas AER convention in May held this year in Grand Forks

Sherry reported that the Public Relations Committee discussed how they saw their role with publicity for the state convention. The PR committee members felt that it would be best for the convention planning committee to conduct the regional publicity since they were most familiar with the local community. The PR Committee is drafting an outline to write guidelines for a PR committee manual to better define the PR Committee’s roles and responsibilities.

NDAB will also have a table at the North Dakota State Fair in July

Strategic Planning – Michele Zentz

Michelle wanted to clarify some implementation of the Resolution passed at convention 2014 regarding Board members reimbursement for convention expenses- members are responsible for making their own hotel reservations, receipts submission to the Treasure for later reimbursement

Michelle is continuing to work on wording for implementation within manuals. She requested that the adopted policy regarding Delinquent members be reported during the Convention agenda. Mark stated that it would be included.

Handbook for the ACB Affiliate President’s Meeting and Legislative Seminar – she noted there are no significant changes from the last manual only more information-

Additions to the April 2010 Manual are: How to register, how to listen on line if interested

Michelle recommended a DO Pass for the Handbook. Zelda seconded her recommendation -vote taken and passed

Hand book for Delegate to ACB Convention- Braille Forum donation discussed: motion made to have two $25 dollar cash door prizes and one $100 auction item

Michelle moved to include the amendment for the door prizes and auction item as decided above

Zelda seconded the motion – motion voted on and passed

 

OLD BUSINESS

2015 Convention update: Zelda Gebhard

Grassy area for guide dogs across the street from convention hotel

Discussion regarding members having a vendor table for craft items etc.,  not vision related items- decision made by board to allow this – first come first served basis

With first consideration given to vendors with vision related items and any space that remains for the non-vision vendors

Note taken by some members of the board that there is such a venue at national convention called Marketplace where non-vision related items are for sale

Motion made by Sherry to allow member vendors with non-vision related items at convention, seconded by Zelda. Vote taken and passed

Zelda will get article ready for the Promoter with recommendation for interested members to contact Sherry as soon as possible as there may be a limited amount of space

Need yet to have someone help with Banquet decorations and host or hostess at coffee breaks during convention

The call to convention letter will go out the first week of May

Zelda passed on information from Vince Ulstad, banquet speaker,   regarding a book that Vision Loss Resources has published. Book contains stories from individuals who have lost their vision, his being one of them.  Vince asked whether it would meet approval to have the books available at the convention- he can get a discounted rate of $10.

Board agreed it would be okay to have books available for anyone that is interested in buying one

Life Time Membership Award:

Carol Schmitt has the wording for the plaque so she will be contacted so plaque can be made up

Free banquet meal will be given to recipient and award given at the banquet

Conference Calls:

PR committee is going to use three way calling available through phone company carriers

Sherry has her own conference call line set up through her own long distance plan , it has a Delaware phone number

Noted that Skype is also free through the computer if committee chairs and their members wanted to use it

Michelle suggested that information regarding conference calls be put into manuals so that all committee chairs have information available to them

Announcements:

ACB Convention Delegate- Mark as president is unable to attend convention in Dallas.  Zelda as Vice-President was asked and will go

The ACB Delegate Handbook will be sent to the Alternate Delegate

Next Board meeting set for June 12, 2015 2:00 PM to 3:34 PM (Pre-Convention Meeting)

Convention planning meeting set for Monday April 20, 6:30 PM

Mark moved to adjourn meeting, Zelda seconded, motion passed and meeting convened at 9:27 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Dianne Giessinger, Secretary

 

 

Music For The Blind by Bill Brown

“Learn by ear, & play by ear!”

 

At Music For The Blind you can find beginner courses for over a dozen musical instruments. These courses use NO braille, no print, no music, and no video. Beginner courses are taught completely “by ear.” This format allows almost anyone to start playing their favorite musical instrument right away with only a standard CD player.

Go to their website to hear sample lessons from these courses and see how easy it is to learn this way.

Www.MusicForTheBlind.com

 

Farther Along the Beauty Way

Reprinted with permission by Steve Goodier www.LifeSupportSystem.com

 

Coming from the US state of New Mexico, I learned early in life to love spicy foods. We like to treat friends to favorite homemade spicy dishes. (Some may think we inflict our tastes on them; I prefer to say we treat them to authentic New Mexican cuisine.) A typical reaction to a dish bathed in our hot sauce goes like this: they smile and enthusiastically try a bite; their eyes open far too wide and they begin to sweat profusely and reach for the water to put out the flames in their stomachs; then, when voice and reason return, they nod and politely say, “Tasty.” They sometimes don’t come back.

 

One person commented, “I’ve heard of people who preach hellfire, but you’re the only one I know who hands out samples.”

 

These days, however, my body is starting to tell me to be more selective in my diet. I have to be careful of over-doing my favorites. I still like it hot, but in smaller quantities. I relate to the woman who stepped off the scale and was asked by her husband what the verdict was. “According to the height table,” she replied, “I should be about six inches taller.”

 

But more important than the food I put into my body are thoughts I put into my mind. Thoughts of bitterness like, “I hate her!” Thoughts of despair like, “I’ll never be happy again.” Thoughts of fear like, “I could never do that!” And thoughts of worry, thoughts of greed and thoughts of self-loathing…“I’m so stupid.” A constant diet of these killer thoughts will destroy any of us long before heart burn or cholesterol.

 

The indigenous Navajo people of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona (the Diné, as they call themselves) have an expression for this. They traditionally believe that how they fill their minds will shape their lives. So they want to fill their minds with that which is good, harmonious and edifying. They speak of “walking and thinking in the Beauty Way” – ridding their minds of all that is destructive and filling them with that which is good and peaceful.

 

With beauty, may I walk.

With beauty before me, may I walk.

With beauty behind me, may I walk.

With beauty above me, may I walk.

With beauty all around me, may I walk.

(Excerpt from the Navajo Night Way Ceremony)

 

The Beauty Way is the way of love and contentment, peace and kindness. It is the way of patience and courage and, above all, harmony.

 

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,

lively, may I walk.

In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,

living again, may I walk.

It is finished in beauty.

It is finished in beauty.

(Excerpt from the Navajo Night Way Ceremony)

 

What are you putting into your mind? James Allen has said, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” Fill your mind with life-affirming thoughts and tomorrow will find you farther along the Beauty Way.

 

 

NDAB Leadership Roster

 

President:

Mark Kueffler, 1406 14 ½ Ave E, West Fargo ND  58078-3428, #866-9908

Vice President:

Zelda Gebhard, 8169 66th St SE, Edgeley ND  58433 #493-2399

Secretary:

Dianne Giessinger, 807 12th St NW, Minot ND  58703 #720-4866

Treasurer:

Helen Baumgartner, 402 12th Ave NW, Mandan ND  58554 #663-8878

Past President:

Michelle Zentz, 1025 7th Ave S #5, Fargo ND  58103 #298-9105

Board of Directors:

Donna Hepper, 1420 83rd St, Ft. Yates ND  58538 #854-7395

Sherry Shirek, 2307 10th St S, Fargo ND  58103 #540-6356

Janelle Olson, 915 2nd Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #570-0801

Financial Chairperson:

Allan Peterson, 7009 Horseshoe Bend, Horace ND  58047 #282-4644

Legislative Liaison Chairpersons:

Allan Peterson, 7009 Horseshoe Bend, Horace ND  58047 #282-4644

Zelda Gebhard, 8169 66th St SE, Edgeley ND  58433 #493-2399

Co-Camp Directors:

Loris Van Berkom, 604 8th Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #774-3399

Rick Feldman, 3301 Bohnet Blvd, Fargo ND  58102 #235-3293

Family Adjustment Seminar Chairperson:

Janelle Olson, 915 2nd Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #570-0801

Sports and Recreation Chairperson:

Dave Sundeen, 310 Dunsmoore Ave #1, Buxton ND  58218 #847-3139

Scholarship Committee Chairperson:

Tracy Wicken, 733 Dawn Circle, Grand Forks ND  58203 #772-7669

Historian:

Denise Kirsch, 1934 N 16th St Unit 3, Bismarck ND  58501 #223-8774

Publicity Chairperson:

Sherry Shirek, 2307 10th St S, Fargo ND  58103 #540-6356

Local News Reporters:

Fargo: Shereen Faber, 3001 Madison Ave, Fargo ND  58102 #237-4589

Grand Forks: Ruth Phalen, 725 40th Ave S #114, Grand Forks ND 58201 #772-4546

Lake Region: Carol Schmitt, 200 14th Ave NE, Devils Lake ND 58301 #662-3363

Minot: Doug and Mary Stip, 813 Park St, Minot ND  58701-4551 #839-4128

Williston: Loris Van Berkom, 604 8th Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #774-3399

Promoter Editor:

Kathy Larson, 15225 59th St NW, Williston ND  58801-9560 #875-4291

 

All members are encouraged to submit items of interest to the editor by mail, phone or e-mail for publication. Deadline is the 10th of the month prior to quarterly publications of February, May, August and November.

 

NDAB is a nonprofit organization which promotes the interest of ND residents who are blind and visually impaired. As a nonprofit organization, we welcome donations to help in advancing the cause of persons who are blind and visually impaired.

To learn more about NDAB visit us online at www.ndab.org