The Promoter August 2013

Official Publication of the North Dakota Association of the Blind

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

Editor: Kathy Larson    


“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 2
Note from the Editor 4
Welcome New NDAB Members 5
Camp Grassick, Here We Come 5
Heartfelt Thanks 5
Members of Our NDAB Family 5
Market Place 7
Low Vision Products Store Comes to ND 7
Member News from Around the State 8
Mission Trip 12
2013 NDAB Member PIP Report 14
2013 LePage Award 15
2013 Ed Christensen Award and History 16
Donations and Memorials 17
Candy’s Corner 18
Fund Raising Report for Fiscal 2012-2013 20
Legislative Report Summer 2013 22
NDAB Resolutions 2013-01 and 2013-02 24
The Anne Sullivan Macy Act 27
Today is the Best 28
We Connect Now 28
Televised Emergency Information 28
The Flight 29
Popover Pancakes 32
Nominations for the 2014 Migel Medals 32
Genensky Memorial Scholarship 32
Weight Watchers 33
Family Adjustment Seminar 33
NDAB Board & Convention 2013 Minutes 33
North to Alaska 41
The Treasures in You 41
A Decision I Must Make Every Day 42
NDAB Leadership Roster 43




Greetings from the President

Hello Team NDAB,

I have said it before and I will likely say it again, I love NDAB and I thank each and every one of you for being a part of this wonderful organization. Our recent state convention was a great success and I would like to thank all those that attended this year’s convention and challenge the rest of you to attend next year’s state convention in Fargo. The work we do at convention is very important and all of your voices need to be heard; I want to hear you, I want to hear your opinions and concerns, for you are NDAB. I also want to tell you a little unknown secret; I overheard someone at this year’s convention say, “This convention was fun!!” Whoever that was, thank you. It made me smile. Please don’t keep it a secret, spread the news; let’s increase our participation and attendance at our state conventions, let’s get back to days where 75 to 100 members were the norm, let’s get fired up and have some fun!

I want to thank all those involved with the organization and planning of this year’s convention, with special thanks to Jesse, Sherry, Ruth, Janice, the School for the Blind, and everyone that made this year’s convention one to remember. I also want to thank all those that helped in making the business meeting run, I believe, quite smoothly including: mike runners – Rick and Steve, Sergeant of Arms – Matt and Eugene, ballot counters – Loris, Char, Elton and Susan. Many thanks to Laurie McHenry our Parliamentarian who did a great job keeping us to stay on task and keeping me moving forward, to the legislators, to the scholarship winners, to anyone I forgot, and to all you members who attended. Please spread the word; let’s go to convention and create our future together.

Congratulations to Janelle Olson, the newest Ed Christensen Award Winner and our newest board member. If anyone is looking for someone to emulate in this organization, you need to get to know Janelle Olson; she is a great leader and I am grateful for her friendship and dedication to NDAB.  With my utmost gratitude I want to thank Loris Van Berkom for her years of service to NDAB and for serving on the board; she is a wealth of knowledge and experience that this organization needs, and although she is leaving the board I sincerely hope that she will once again give us the benefit of serving on the board in the future.

I had other things I wanted to talk about in this issue of the Promoter but life’s events got in the way, which I will explain in the next few lines. However, I wanted to mention just a few words about where I believe we need to go, and I sincerely would like as many of your thoughts and opinions as I can receive. First, I believe to continue to grow as an organization and to gain new members, we need to utilize the communication technology that is available to us all, meaning Facebook, Twitter, blogs, the telephone, letter writing, whatever means possible and whatever you our members are most comfortable with. I believe in tradition and we need to do what we have always done, but we need to add a few more tools to our toolbox. Please contact me with your opinion at or 701-866-9908, or talk to your local board member and they can relay the information to me but please, let me know your thoughts. Thank you.

Finally, today I am including the recent loss of my step father Jack Akovenko who my family lost yesterday, July 5th, 2013 due to a severe stroke. He was 73. He was an extremely important part of my life; he instilled a lot of the beliefs and values that have carried through my life. He was always there when I needed him, always willing to give rides when necessary, and always there to provide valued advice to a young man growing up. He is directly responsible for my “don’t ever give up” attitude, and when things looked impossible, “there is always a way through, around, under, or over the top.” He was a kind and gentle soul who would give the shirt off his back to someone in need, a good man and the best of fathers, and as Louie L’Amour would say, “He was one to ride the river with,” and I am proud to have called him Dad. The following is his obituary.

Jack Akovenko, 73, of West Fargo, ND, formerly of Grassy Butte and Watford City, passed away Friday, July 5, 2013 at Essentia Health Hospital in Fargo. Jack was born February 14, 1940 on the family farm in Grassy Butte, ND, to Alax and Katherine (Sayahaydak) Akovenko, and was raised on the family farm and educated in Grassy Butte, ND. Jack hauled gravel for several years, while also helping out on the family farm and helping neighbors & friends in the Grassy Butte area. In 1975, he started working for Heggen Equipment in Watford City, ND, as a farm equipment mechanic and continued to work there for the next 30 years, retiring in 2005. Self-taught he became well known in the area for his ability to fix and repair farm equipment and had an uncanny ability to repair all shapes and types of mechanical equipment, from kitchen appliances, to toys, to garden tractors, boat motors, cars and trucks, to hay bailers, to combines & tractors of all sizes, and was very proud of his long career in repairing Melroe Bobcats. His heart was always with the land, enjoying time on the tractor, bailing hay, plowing snow, and helping family and friends on the farm when he could.


July 12, 1975 he was united to his wife of 38 years Lorene (Haug) Akovenko in Dickinson, ND. He was the best father anyone could ask for to his two step children, Mark and LaVon to whom he adored. He was also blessed with four wonderful grandchildren (Jaklyn, Isabella, Alexander, and David) and loved them all very much. In 2005, Jack & Lorene moved to West Fargo, ND, where he kept busy with yard work, snow-blowing, helping neighbors and enjoying retirement. He also enjoyed and cherished all the time spent with his extended (Haug) family.


Jack is survived by his wife Lorene, two step children Mark (Shannah) Kueffler; West Fargo, ND, and LaVon (Shawn) Anderson; Dayton, NV, his four grand children; Jakyln, Isabella, Alexander, and David Anderson; Dayton, NV, his brother Ernie (Karla( Akovenko; Grassy Butte, ND, his sisters Dorothy (Phil) Jones; Tomah, WI, and Emma Prokop; Three Forks, MT, and several nieces and nephews.


Jack is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, his brothers John, George, and Alvin, his sisters Anne, Lena, Alice, and Helen, his nephew Shane and his niece, Marsha.


I will leave you with a message that I know was part of his philosophy. “Never give up, be kind, give, and help thy neighbor.”

Let’s Create Future Today, Together!!

Mark Kueffler, President



Note From the Editor


I can hardly believe that I have been the editor for the Promoter for a year and starting a new year in this position. It has been an enjoyable experience and I thank you for electing me for the job again. Thanks to all of you who have been so timely with getting your article to me. We’ll continue to do the same this year, right?


I enjoy reading quotes and collecting them, and I have a folder in which to save special ones. While searching for some information in past Promoter issues, I came upon an ending quote written in the president’s letter in 1999. It is worth saving and reprinting.

“It is far better to do something constructive imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly.” Olga Neal, President

And I always enjoy quotes by Helen Keller.

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”


If you have a favorite one to share, please send it to me at Thanks.

Kathy Larson, NDAB Editor






Welcome New NDAB Members


NDAB welcomes Leonard Haabak of Minot, Genie Lang of Bismarck, Kristina Brown of Dickinson, Robert Gruchala of Minto, Danielle Irving and Kathryn Loe, both  of Fargo, and Wayne Trottier of Northwood to our membership.


Welcome back to Stan Mosser and Betty Fedorchak, both of Minot, and Dean Petersen and Wanda Brottlund, both of Fargo.



Camp Grassick, Here We Come!


It’s almost time to pack our bags and head once again to Camp Grassick for the 43rd annual NDAB Summer Camp August 11-18. We are looking forward to another fabulous week of fun and fellowship. If you are one of those who didn’t register to attend, we’ll tell you all about it in the next Promoter. If you filled out your application and are packing your bags to go, we’ll see you very soon!


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



Heartfelt Thanks from Dave Sundeen


Words could not express the feelings that Dave Sundeen felt as he opened the card with attached well-wishes and messages sent to him from NDAB members who attended the convention held in Grand Forks. He does not know how he would have made it through this difficult time without the love, prayers, thoughts and support from friends. He is doing very well after his cancer surgery in Sioux Falls, SD, and is thankful that he will not need chemo or radiation treatments. The follow-up doctor appointments every three months will be in Fargo with the first one scheduled for the end of August. He extends many, many thanks for all the prayers, get-well wishes, phone calls, the financial support and for thinking of him. NDAB Summer Camp is on his schedule for August!



Members of our NDAB Family


NDAB has lost another one of our members, and we extend sincere sympathy to the family of Oliver Zentz.


Oliver John Zentz, resident of Binford, ND passed away Friday, May 24, 2013 in the Cooperstown Medical Center Hospital on his 94th birthday.


Oliver was born to Harry and Alma (Johnson) Zentz on May 24, 1919 in Helena Township, ND. He was the oldest of four boys. He attended elementary schools in Griggs County and was confirmed at Ottawa Lutheran Church.


He enlisted in the Army in 1942. He served most of his enlistment in the Pacific Theatre. His unit served in the Mariana Islands and throughout the Philippines. He was a radio communications specialist in the 129th Combat Infantry Division. He was awarded a Bronze Star, and was granted an honorable discharge at the conclusion of World War II in 1945.


Oliver married Violet Mary Johnson on March 13, 1946. They farmed near Aneta until they purchased their farm in rural Binford in 1953. While farming is non-stop work, Oliver went above and beyond. He took correspondence courses from the National Radio Institute and taught himself the business of radio and television repair. He was also a rural mail carrier. In 1967 they purchased a liquor store in Binford that they renamed the O.Z. Bar. They operated this business for many years.


Oliver’s warm and outgoing personality endeared him to everyone. He was an active member of both the American Legion Jonas Helland Post #111 and the Knights of Pythius Fraternal Lodge for more than 50 years. Oliver attained the title of Supreme Grand Chancellor in the KPs and attended several state and national conventions. He supported the community through many endeavors, including the rodeo association and the Senior Citizens of Binford.


Very few individuals can handle all these responsibilities and raise six children simultaneously as Oliver and Violet did. But still they made time for family and fun. Oliver taught himself to play the accordion, piano, and guitar. All the kids and grandkids loved the Bunny Hop. His skill at cards was amazing, much to his opponents’ dismay. He loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He raised and trained AKC registered weimaraners to be excellent hunting and retrieving dogs. Reading, dancing, bowling, softball, going to auction sales, and following the Minnesota Twins were some of his favorite pastimes. Many cross-country road trips were spent visiting family. He also traveled to Canada, Hawaii, and Germany.


Oliver and his family have been members of the West Prairie Lutheran Church. Oliver will be greatly missed. He was our hero, our rock to lean on, the one we looked up to, and he was our sunshine.


Oliver is survived by his wife of 67 years, Violet Zentz, one son, and five daughters: Marlene (Dennis) Dahl, Bismarck ND, Michael, Binford ND, Mavis (Douglas) Brown, Lacey WA, Mary Zentz, Lake Placid, FL, Margery (David) Johnston, Colorado Springs CO, Michelle Zentz and Larry Anderson, Fargo ND. Nine grandchildren, twelve great grandchildren, two great great grandchildren, and several nephews and nieces.


We also extend to Dennis Nez and his family our deepest sympathy on the loss of his wife. Pauline Nez (Sacred Winds), 74, died Sunday, June 30, 2013 in a Minot hospital. She was born April 1, 1939 to John GoodBird McKenzie and Alice Standish, at Independence. She married Dennis on April 6, 1959 in Denver. You may contact Dennis at 898-0251 or send a card to him at 106 1stSt NW, Parshall ND  58770.


Becky Monroe, our orientation and mobility instructor at camp and NDAB friend from Great Falls, Montana, has been dealing with health issues. She has a cyst on her right kidney that the doctors have drained twice. It causes her a lot of pain and her doctors are still trying to decide how to proceed. Both of her kidneys are functioning normally so they don’t want to remove a good kidney. Some of the cells in the cyst are suspicious and furthered pathology results will determine the next course of action. As the cyst grows, she has a great deal of back pain so she spends a lot of her day reclined with either and ice pack or a heating pad. We need to continue to keep her in our prayers.


You will read the Fargo news later in this issue sent in by Shereen Faber, but it is necessary to include an update about her at the time of this editing in late July. Shereen has had a setback after her recent surgery and is back in Sanford Medical Center Fargo, receiving antibiotics for an infection in her leg. She will be on antibiotics for an extended period of time. She and her family are in need of our prayers.



Market Place

Merlin Classic Video Magnifier for Sale


With this video magnifier, you can view images in vivid color, black and white high contrast positive or high contract negative. It has easy to use tactile buttons. It has a 14-inch CRT monitor system and magnifies images 4x to 50x. Asking price is $300. Please contact Adeline Peterson 701-252-1320 if interested.



Low Vision Products Store Comes to North Dakota


On June 1st, 2013, Low Vision Products and Training of ND, LLP, opened its doors to the public. This is a locally owned business located at 320 West Main Street in Mandan, ND. The store carries various low vision products with training available on their proper use. Items that can be purchased from the store are unlimited. If there is a product you are interested in and it is not in stock, it will be ordered for you. Currently, inventory in the store includes various desktop, handheld and portable video magnifiers from top rated companies such as Freedom Scientific, Eschenbach and Enhanced Vision. There are top of the line, mid-line and low end magnifiers, adaptive devices in the areas of cooking, sewing, writing, telling time, games, personal care, lighting, sunglasses, reading glasses and much more.

“We invite you to stop in the store or give us a call and we will assist you with all your independent living or employment needs. Our store is setup to allow you to come in and try the various items to see which one works the best for you. You can reach us at 701-214-4785. You can see some of our products on our website at We look forward to seeing you at our new store or hearing from you soon!!!!”


Kevin Vannett and Dennis Baumgartner, Co-owners




Member News From Around the State


Greetings from Bismarck/Mandan

Submitted by Bob Vandal


Hi NDAB from Bismarck, Mandan and the surrounding area. I would like to apologize for not reporting to you on Bis/Man news in the last news letter. My computer crashed and I was unable to do anything with it for 3-4 months.


Donna Hepper will be attending the ACB convention this year in Ohio. She is looking forward to it as she has always enjoyed those of previous years. Also she told me that she and her husband, Rudy, are going to hang up their spurs and hats and retire! They have owned and operated a cattle ranch just south of Prairie Nights Casino for several years. One of their sons will be taking it over. He has a sizable operation as well and lives twenty miles from his folks’ place. Congratulations Rudy and Donna! Oh by the way, my guess is that the spurs and hats may still come down on an occasion.


Our good friend, Dick Veal, just wanted to say that he is doing well. He, at this time, is unsure if he will be able to attend blind camp. Time will tell. Dick was my camp buddy my first year at camp. I enjoyed his help a lot. The only thing he did not have to show me twice was the mess hall.


Mavis Anderson is always good for some news. Some of what she reported is dated because of my computer problems but it is still worth reporting. September, 2012, she participated in the “Brain Train” at the Bismarck Civic Center. This is the second year of participation for Mavis. Many vendors had booths dealing with all aspects of brain disabilities. She does not know if there will be another one planned.


Mavis also helped out with the NDAB booth at the Disability Awareness Day held at the Capitol during the legislative session. This event was for the legislators although the public could certainly attend. The Brain Train focused more on the general public.


Denise Kirsch is once again asking for your help. She is asking members to submit pictures, with explanations, for 2011, 2012, & 2013. There has been no response to the first request. Your help is greatly appreciated. Contact Denise for more information.


Denise said that in June, the low vision group met at the Golden Corral and in May they met at Bonanza.


Belinda Fadness went through kidney replacement surgery on June 25th. Good luck to Belinda; our prayers are with you. GET WELL SOON. Bobby informed me the afternoon of the 25th that Belinda’s transplant went well.


Speaking of Bobby, he went to “Escape to the Lake” event held at Nelson Lake on June 15th. There was skiing, pontoon rides, food and other activities. Bobby said that a fishing event had been planned earlier but was canceled because of a shortage of volunteers.


I was unable to reach Helen but a roving bird reporter said that Helen was involved in a burger feed put on by the Lions of Mandan.


This is going to do it for this quarter, but next time I will, once again, spotlight one of our members. Thanks to NDAB, all of its members and all of the various office holders. Great job. See you the next time.


Fargo News

By Shereen Faber


Happy 4th of July everyone. Yes, I am writing this letter on the 4th and temperatures into the 90’s. First thing I want to say is thank you so very, very much for all the prayers from everyone, before, during and now after my very major surgery. I think I could write a book about all the many, many blessings that came to me from all different direction and still are. I am absolutely taking this as a sign from God that everything is going to be ok for now. This has probably been my most difficult surgery, and recovery is going to take some time, but I am confident. My goal is to be able to come to camp. I am filling my forms out and am hoping and praying for positive results.

July 19th will be our annual Trollwood Performing Arts Production. This summer they are putting on the musical “Shrek.” I am soooo excited that this is a children’s play and that my granddaughter Aubree will be able to come too and enjoy. This will be Aubree’s first Trollwood musical. Also my brother and his whole family are here this summer from Thailand, so all ten of them will be attending. Really looking forward to this.

Candy and Terry Lien went on a trip south again the end of June. They stopped in Rapid City and picked up their daughter Becky and on to Overland Park, Kansas, to see their son Andy. From there they all went on an hour and a half trip to Odessa, Missouri, to visit Candy’s sister and mother. Sounded like a fun trip.

At the time of this writing people have left or are starting to leave for the ACB Convention. It will be interesting to hear the outcome of the elections as there will be many. Wishing everybody an enjoyable time in Columbus, Ohio, and that it won’t be too dreadfully hot.

In closing I’m wishing everyone a safe and fun summer, and with god’s blessings we will see you all at camp this summer.


Grand Forks: There is currently no news from Grand Forks, but hopefully by the next issue there will be a local news editor.


Minot News

By Doug and Mary Stip


We had our portion of the NDAB Walkathon at the Arrowhead Shopping Center April 27th. Over 20 people showed up for this. They included members and parents from Boy Scout troop 416 and Cub Scout troop 419. The event included a bake sale, door prizes, and live guitar music by Lenny Haabak. The kids asked us some interesting questions about our eye conditions. Many thanks to everyone who took part.

On May 15th, Mary got her 3000-hour pin at the Trinity Health volunteer banquet.


Also by the time you read this we will have made our trip to Columbus, Ohio, for the ACB Convention.


Wanda and Lenny went on a trip to the East Coast in June to see his sister and his daughter, and also do some sightseeing.


Carol Schmitt planned to spend some time with her family over the Fourth of July.


Dawn Freemont went to Wisconsin to attend her niece’s graduation.


Pat Schmidt is still enjoying working for MLT. While moving furniture recently, he injured his shoulder and at this writing has been recovering. He is hoping to come to camp in August. We look forward to seeing everybody at camp again!


Williston Wanderings Summer 2013

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom


After a cold, wet spring, summer has finally arrived. By the time you read this, harvest weather will be around the corner and the days will be getting shorter. It’s a mystery to me how the months can fly by so quickly.


Carol Scallon had a very memorable trip to Austria, Germany, France and Norway right after school got out. Her dad, who sponsored the trip for both of his daughters, a son-in-law and granddaughter, is a World War II veteran. He went to Normandy and took part in the D Day celebration. Some of the things Carol experienced were a visit to a former concentration camp, visiting the site where “The Sound of Music” was filmed, shopping in Paris and visiting the sites in Norway where both of her grandfathers were born. She had barely recovered from jet lag before her family flew to California for a niece’s wedding. They spent one day in San Francisco where she walked part way across the Golden Gate Bridge and had lunch at the pier. She is glad to be home again making plans for another year of teaching kindergarten. She will not be at camp this summer because she has teacher staff meetings during that week with school starting August 19.


Susan Jorgenson had a surprise waiting for her when she returned from the NDAB Convention in Grand Forks. Her husband had bought her a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Perhaps it should have been yellow instead of red because it has already been in the shop three times. She was elected for a two year term as chairperson for the Upper Missouri Cluster Women of the ELCA which is one of seven clusters in the state. Her husband went on a nineteen day motor cycle trip in June with two other friends to Alaska.


Sheryl and Dan Gerhardt are in limbo waiting for an appraisal of their Home. If all goes as planned, they will be moving to Kentucky the end of August to be closer to their son and his family. She will be coming to camp this summer and hopes to get back to North Dakota every summer to continue her involvement in NDAB. We will really miss them here in Williston.


Brenda Bruins traveled to a resort in White Fish, Montana, the end of June for a family reunion. Besides lots of visiting and eating, she enjoyed a pontoon ride and seeing where her great grandfather had once lived. She also took part in her home town of Arnegard’s centennial celebration July 5-7.


Luella Asleson, who recently recovered from a broken hip, is back in her assisted living apartment after going through rehab at the nursing home. She is walking around now on her own and very happy to be back home again.


Jean Cote, one of our newest Williston NDAB members, is considering attending camp. She is a fun-loving lady so we hope to see her there.


Janelle Olson and her secretary are settled in their new office space. It is located in a secure building on the fourth floor. The biggest problem that they are dealing with now is the postal system that can’t figure out where to deliver their mail so Janelle makes several trips a week to the post office.


Linda Oyloe was the recipient of a beautiful prayer quilt made by women in Grand Forks. Connie Osowski began a “Prayer Quilt Ministry” after seeing quilts in a church in Branson, MO. Women from her church come to her home on Fridays to help make the quilts, usually five quilts every time they get together. Connie’s mother (90 years), who lives in Bismarck, helps to sew blocks together. Connie says that God knows those who are in need of the prayer quilts. Linda was surprised and felt so blessed! She thanks everyone for the thoughts and prayers as she battles lung cancer. She has completed two chemo treatments in Bismarck.


Kathy and Stan Larson enjoyed a visit with some of their cruising friends when several couples came to Williston In June for a tour of the busy oil country, ending up at the Larson farm for supper. The next day, they all met up in Medora to attend the outdoor musical. They spent the second weekend in July reminiscing with Kathy’s high school classmates during their 50th class reunion. Their second son and family who live in Washington came for a visit the middle of July. Playing “catch-up” is the name of the farming game this year as the spring was so wet, delaying seeding. Harvest will be a bit later than usual!


Karlyn Frantsen’s husband had heart valve replacement surgery the middle of June and is still recuperating. She hosted our second cousin from Norway for a few days over the July 4th weekend. They came to Williston with a stop at my house and stayed overnight at Kathy & Stan’s farm where she got to visit the spot where our grandmother, her great grandmother’s sister, homesteaded.


I am once again retired. For the past four years, I have been a Braille Para Educator, teaching braille reading and writing to two students. They will be attending school out of state next year so I’m looking for a new project to fill my days. On the evening of Memorial Day, my basement flooded due to a down spout that had come off. All of the carpets were soaked so they were all removed along with all the contents of my basement. I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and take the opportunity to totally remodel and up-date every room. So far, nothing is happening very quickly and I’m waiting for the carpenter who said he would work on it to get started. Patience is not one of my virtues but I’m having to learn it.


Our local vision support group continues to meet the second Saturday of each month for a no-host luncheon in the banquet room of Gramma Sharon’s Family Restaurant. We are always eager to welcome new people so spread the word.



Mission Trip

Submitted by Ruth Phalen


When I heard there was a mission trip from our parish to Chimbote, Peru, planned for June of this year, I knew It was my chance to do something I’d seriously considered for some time. Our Pastor, Father Phil Ackerman, has led several trips to Father Jack Davis’ (originally from Devils Lake) Mission in Chimbote. For about 37 years he has ministered to the poorest of the poor.


My daughter from Texas and daughter-in-law from Iowa were happy to join the trip. The basic trip was for eight days and I felt I couldn’t do a side trip.


We flew from Grand Forks, through Houston and on to Lima. We did not have to change our watches so that was a plus. We spent a day in Lima getting acquainted with the group (there were 30 of us), and the country; also viewing ruins, a horse show, eating and shopping. Then it was off to Chimbote by bus. What was supposed to be a 6 ½ hour trip took 2 hours longer – the traffic in Lima is horrible! They do not have the infrastructure to support the automobiles and population. Both Lima and Chimbote are on the Pacific Ocean so we saw lots of water, sand and barren areas.


We had done fund-raising in the parish and that had been sent ahead to buy beds, stoves and building materials for us to use there. We were going to tear down and rebuild houses (huts), deliver beds and stoves. Chimbote gets very little, if any, rainfall each year, so when they had heavy rains this year much of the housing in the barrios was ruined and whole areas were devastated. They build with bamboo poles and walls of a woven reed material. The roofs were also made of this material and did not keep the water out. Most homes had dirt floors (sandy- only a few had concrete) so the living conditions are something we couldn’t imagine here.


The weather is very different. When we were there in June it was their winter and I found a light Jean jacket very adequate but the locals thought it was cold.


The mission itself is walled and everything was closed up at night. They have a large dormitory so housing was just like camp. The food was adequate and there was plenty to eat, both at the mission and at restaurants. The fresh fruit and the bread were great. The protein choices were either fish or chicken. I’d passed up the raw fish until the last night; I’d been told to pass up this Peruvian delicacy.


The mission compound also houses a soup kitchen, church, nursery, daycare center, a central dining room (the Gringo room), a large auditorium/meeting room besides the priest’s quarters. They have a large building nearby that houses offices and space where they stored the beds and stoves. In other areas there were school facilities, soup kitchens and a building to teach trades such as cosmetology, sewing and carpentry. I understand there are jobs after the students have been trained so a big objective of the mission is to get employment and keep young people off the street and off drugs.


We visited a hospice care center that was built and run by a group of nuns from San Antonio. We visited an orphanage which was very nice and learned there is no social service after 18 and the government provides few services. There are several generations living together in one house and while they are building some new housing with floors, the long, narrow huts with dirt floors are the norm in the barrios. What poverty and yet the people we had contact with seemed happy and appreciative of the help we were trying to provide.


Besides the building we went to the beach one day with a bus load of special needs people (children and adults). They really enjoyed playing bingo! We also had a carnival one afternoon for the area children. It was something new to them but they seemed to enjoy everything. All in all, it was a busy trip and after a bad trip home – the first plane was late so all the reservations had to be changed.

Fatigue caught up with me and I slept for a couple days, got over a cold and infection and a week later I was up and at it again.


I had been to a 3rd World country before but the poverty in Peru is so much worse and the employment opportunities seem limited. I just made the kind of trip I would recommend to anyone who can do it – what an educational opportunity.



2013 NDAB Member Participation Incentive Program Report


Below is a brief report of the Participation Incentive Program (PIP).


There were nine participants for this first year of the program. We are very proud of all of you and the results of your efforts. They are already making an impact on our organization.


At the banquet during the NDAB Convention, participation certificates and our thanks were awarded to all who turned in a report and were present. The three with the most points were awarded a framed certificate and their corresponding incentive checks: First – Mary Lou Stip $100, Second – Shereen Faber $50, Third – Genie Lang $25. The other participants were Evelyn Hildebrand, Kathryn Schmidt, Susan Jorgenson, Carol Schmitt, Brenda Bruins and Melissa Petersen.


Together, these nine ladies raised $6110.00 and added six new members! That is awesome! More difficult to measure but equally important is the enthusiasm their participation in the program has created among the rest of the membership. They have set the bar and now for next year their participation will encourage others to join them in their efforts. I look forward with anticipation to what we can accomplish in the coming year. After all, they only had seven months to earn points last year. For 2013-2014 you will have twelve full months.


Again, we want to thank the participants for their dedication and commitment to NDAB and we challenge all of you to think about what you can do to make our great organization even better.


Zelda Gebhard, Membership Chair




2013 LePage Award

By Candy Lien


During the 2013 NDAB State Convention in Grand Forks, May 31-June 2, Mr. Jim Dahle of Bottineau was presented with the Robert John LePage Service Award. This award is given every year to a North Dakota Lion who has been judged to embody the spirit of Bob LePage. Bob worked tirelessly behind the scenes for many years, never accepting any compensation, to serve the unmet needs of people with vision loss, particularly in the Fargo area. During the 2008 NDAB state convention, Bob had been presented with a plaque in gratitude for his many years of service to the visually impaired. When he died suddenly in September of that year, the North Dakota Association of the Blind decided to Honor his memory by continuing the tradition of granting an award in his name to the North Dakota Lion who best exemplified Bob’s quiet, humble type of service.


Though he is a resident of Bottineau, Mr. Dahle has been a member of the Lake Metigoshe Lions for many years, joining after the Bottineau chapter folded. Some of the activities that Mr. Dahle has been involved in include the monthly collection of eyes glasses;

Traveling to Minot with corneas (160 mile round trip)

And never accepting compensation for mileage; and coordination of activities with the local Good Samaritan Center, including picnics and cook outs for the residents.


“Whenever our club needs anything done, Jim will be one of the first members to volunteer,” says Les Halvorson, club President.


Committee member Shereen Faber presented the plaque to Mr. Dahle during the evening banquet at the Guest House in Grand Forks. The plaque reads: “With thanks and appreciation for your ‘vision’ and dedication to people with sight loss in North Dakota.”


Congratulations to Mr. Jim Dahle on receiving this well-deserved award!








The 2013 Edwin Christensen Award

Submitted by Carol Schmitt and Shereen Faber


It was a great honor to present the Edwin Christensen Award this year to Janelle Olson at our annual NDAB State Convention. Janelle has been an outstanding member of NDAB since 1984, taking on many different responsibilities for the North Dakota Association of the Blind. These responsibilities include serving as chairperson of the Family Adjustment Seminar since 2001. She also chaired the local NDAB fund raising event for many years and took a leadership role in the local support group meetings. Those of us who attend the summer camp for NDAB have many great memories of Janelle’s creativity in bringing many new adventures to the campers. They are especially fond of her morning wake up songs which she plays on her coronet, usually before or after the bell rings at 7 a.m. Now, that takes dedication! She has also taught many camp classes including different self-help classes, Zumba, Yoga, dance class, band and “New Camper Orientation.” It was also remembered at the presentation of the Edwin Christensen Award that, despite severe illness, Janelle led in the program for the 2011 camp banquet. She has dedicated much time and energy for the good of all people who are blind and visually impaired, and for NDAB.



History of the Ed Christensen Award


The first award was given in 1993 following a motion made by Joe Hintz to honor Ed Christensen who was the Administrator of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Forks. This was a state program funded by Vocational Rehabilitation for adult individuals with visual impairments. Several of NDAB’s members took part in this six to ten week training program. Ed was a member of NDAB from 1975 until 2001, and was active in updating the By-Laws in 1983.


List of Ed Christensen Award recipients


1993 – Ed Christensen

1994 – Darrell Klein

1995 – Olga Neal

1996 – Cora Como

1997 – Dick Corcoran

No record is available for 1998. Please inform us if you know.

1999 – Loris Van Berkom

2000 – Leo Brilz

2001 – Kathy Larson

2002 – Dennis Everson (awarded to his family after his death)

2003 – Doranna Robertson

2004 – Allan Peterson

2005 – Renae Huseby

2006 – David Sundeen

2007 – Stan Larson

2008 – Rom Thielman

2009 – Richard Feldman

2010 – Sheryl Gerhardt

2011 – Lester Ketterling (awarded to his wife Eunice after his death)

2012 – Shereen Faber

2013 – Janelle Olson



Donation and Memorials


Since the printing of the last Promoter in May, we have received the following donations and memorials:


Dick Veal


Missy Miller in memory of Mabel Feldman

Missy Miller in memory of Oliver Zentz

Steven and Zelda Gebhard in memory of Oliver Zentz

Fargo Gateway Lions in memory of Bob LePage – $1,000

Donations and memorials since May total $1,070. Thank you so much to those who contributed in the past few months.


NDAB welcomes any donation or memorial you would like to contribute to the organization. Your contribution can be sent to the NDAB Treasurer at 402 12th Ave NW, Mandan, ND 58554. Your contribution will be used to fund the programs of our organization. Thank you!!!! Helen Baumgartner, NDAB Treasurer







Candy’s Corner


For those of you who can no longer see even the biggest, darkest print: Have you ever wished there was an easy way to leave messages for your sighted friends and family members? Have you ever wanted to address an envelope without resorting to a computer printer? Here is one idea, which is credited to Mr. Don Nold back in the 1970’s. Just place a sheet of paper into a normal braille slate. Going from left to right, instead of from right to left as one normally would with a braille slate, use a normal ballpoint pen to write one letter in each cell of the slate. Use the dot numbers to help form the letters. I have tried writing with this method and it is super easy and, according to my sighted friends, very legible. Here are the directions for each letter:


To print the letter A, draw a line from dot three to two to one, across to four, down to six. Then draw a   line from two to five.

B: draw a line from one to three. Return to one and make a diagonal line to five and back to two; from   two make a diagonal line to six and back to three.

C: draw a line from four to one, to three, to six.

D: draw from one to three, then from one draw a diagonal line to five, and another diagonal line from   five to three.

E: draw a line from four to one, to three, to six; then draw a line from two to five.

F: draw a line from four to one to three; then draw a line from two to five.

G: draw a line from four to one to three to six, to five, and back to two.

H: draw 2 vertical lines from one to three and from four to six; then a line from two to five.

I: draw a vertical line from one to three.

J: draw a line from four to six, to three, to two. Alternatively, Go from one to four; halfway between one   and four make a vertical line to the bottom of the cell and continue that line to three and up to two.

K: draw a line from one to three; then draw a diagonal line from two to four, then return to two and   draw another diagonal line to six.

L: draw a line from one to three to six.

M: draw 2 vertical lines from one to three, and from four to six. Return to one and draw a diagonal line   to the midpoint between two and five, and from this point another diagonal line up to four.

N: draw 2 vertical lines from one to three, and from four to six. Return to one, and draw a diagonal line   to six.

O: draw a line from one to three to six to four and back to one.

P: draw a line from one to three, then draw a line from one to four to five and back to two.

Q:  draw an o; at six, draw a short diagonal line about halfway to two.

R: draw a line from one to three, then draw a line from one to four to five and back to two. Then at two   draw a diagonal line to six.

S: draw a line from four to one to two to five to six and back to three.

T: draw a line from one to four. Then place the pen at the midpoint of this line and draw a vertical line to   a point between three and six.

U: draw a line from one to three to six and up to four.

V: begin at one and draw a diagonal to the midpoint between three and six, then draw a diagonal back   up to four.

W: draw two vertical lines from one to three, and four to six. Return to three and draw a diagonal up to   the midpoint between two and five, then draw another diagonal down to six.

X: draw a line from one to six, and draw a line from four to three.

Y: draw from one to two to five, and then draw a line from four to six.

Z: draw from one to four, then diagonally down to three, then from three to six.




1: draw a line from one to three.

2: draw a line from one to four to five, a diagonal line from five to three, and then draw a line from three to   six.

3: draw a line from one to four to six and back to three, then draw a line from two to five.

4: draw a line from one to two to five, and then draw a line from four to six.

5: draw a line from four to one to two across to five, down to six and back to three.

6:  draw a line from one to three to six, up to five, and back to two.

7: draw a line from one to four, and then a diagonal line from four to three.

8: draw a line from one to three to six to four and back to one; draw a line from two to five.

9: draw a line from four to one to two across to five; draw a line from four to six.

The zero is made like the letter o.


If you wish to address an envelope, just put the envelope into the slate.
Try this out and see if your friends can read it!

Fund Raising Report for Fiscal 2012 – 2013

By Allan Peterson


To those who have been involved and have contributed to our fund raising successes during this past year, a huge thank you for your help! As a preface, this report covers fund raising activities for the past fiscal year which began in June of 2012 and ended in May of this year when our financial records were sent to the auditor. Because the major highlights of this report were shared with those who attended our Convention in June, this report may be old news to some of you.


There are many reasons for us to be very thankful and celebrate the successes that we achieved from this year’s fund raising efforts. This year did mark our 15th year of conducting the NDAB Walk, and our Walk continues to be by far our major fund raiser.


For those primarily interested in the bottom line, the monies raised from our 2013 Walk totaled $19,339.62. Note: The monies raised are the amount that could be reported at the time that our financial records were sent to the auditor in May. Any donations that were received after our financial records were sent to the auditor are not included as a part of this report.


A more detailed Walk report will reveal that the Walk was held in six cities. The breakdown by city and the amounts that were raised in each individual city are as follows: Bismarck – $3964; Fargo – $10,955; Minot – $3520.62; Williston – $500; Valley City – $400; Note: the amount raised from the walk in Grand Forks wasn’t available prior to the time when our financial records were sent to the auditor. Of special note: A bake sale was held in conjunction with the Walk in Minot; the bake sale raised $164.62 which is included in the total monies reported from Minot.


A special thank you is extended to the individuals who served as Walk chairs in the six cities that hosted a Walk. The Walk Chairs included Donna Hepper and Bob Vandal in Bismarck, Mary Stip in Minot, Carol Scallon in Williston, and Paula Anundson in Valley City, Paul Olson in Grand Forks, and Missy Miller and myself in Fargo.


I’m truly very pleased with the successes that our Walk achieved this year! It isn’t my intent to diminish the efforts of some by highlighting the efforts of a few who really “went beyond the pale”, so to speak. First is Mary Stip, who led the Walk in Minot that raise $3560.62 which included proceeds from a bake sale, Donna Hepper in Bismarck led the effort in Bismarck to raise $3964, in Fargo Shereen Faber raised a total of $1200 for the Walk and Eugenie Lang in Bismarck raised over $800 for the Bismarck Walk. I’m pleased to report that one of our younger members, Whitney Engbrecht, was one of our leading Walk fundraisers with donations that totaled $420 and Michelle Zentz, brought in donations that totaled $300! If I’m incorrect with any of these numbers, I apologize in advance for those errors of subtraction or omission.


I’m pleased to say that our Walk in Fargo was aided once again by a $1200 supplement from the East Cass County Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and a $1000 donation from the Horace Lions Club. Sizable donations for the Walk in Fargo were also received from the West Fargo VFW, the NDSU Student Lions Club, Bremer Bank, Park Co. Realty, Scheels, and Northern Improvement, the Fercho Eye Clinic and the Fargo and Gateway Lions clubs. Significant donations were also received from other eye care professionals, area businesses and friends and the family of NDAB.


In regard to our Fargo Walk, the donations received after the books were closed were significantly larger than the carryover from the preceding year. This means that we actually did raise more than $11,000 for our 2013 Fargo Walk.


One of the highlights of our Walk in Fargo was an ad that Valley News Live produced which was aired on TV several times for us before our event took place! This was the second year that we were granted this opportunity which came about thanks to the connections that Gene Taylor, the NDSU Athletic Director, has with producers at the station. Our Fargo Walk was also promoted by Sergeant Eric Marts, host of “Heroes of the Heartland” on WDAY radio. Of note, Sergeant Marts is a person who is blind due to combat injuries that he sustained in the Iraqi war.


Cities other than Fargo also made significant efforts to promote their Walks, most notable among these efforts, was in Minot where Doug Stip was interviewed by the media of the 2 local TV stations that serve the Minot area. Securing the attention of the media is so important for a number of reasons, not only does it help to enhance donations but it also helps create a greater public awareness about our organization and the capabilities of people who are blind and visually impaired.


Other significant sources of our fund raising income continues to be the direct appeal letters that are sent to the Lions clubs and organizations which hold gaming licenses in North Dakota. Before the Holiday season began, appeal letters were sent to the 113 established Lions clubs in North Dakota; the return on this appeal letter totaled $3820. A similar appeal letter was sent to 211 organizations which hold charitable gaming licenses in North Dakota; the return on the gaming site appeal letters totaled $7100. A very appreciative thank you is extended to Those who sent the appeal letters to the holders of charitable gaming licenses in the areas where they live; people that need to be acknowledged and thanked for this work include, Carol Scallon, Evelyn Hildebrand, Eunice Ketterling, Karlyn Frantsen, Ruth Phalen, Rose Landsem, Paula Anundson, Elaine Kelm, Zelda Gebhard, Helen Baumgartner and Bev Austin.


Fund raising income generated from the sale of bracelets that incorporate the braille alphabet into their design totaled $180. And Sales for the NDAB duffle bags totaled $125. Sales for these 2promotional items totaled $305.


Thus, total income that can be attributed to fund raising for fiscal2012-2013 is $30,564. Income that isn’t included with fund raising is income that is generated from summer camp, the state convention, gains realized on investments, membership dues and fees, memorials and a few other miscellaneous sources.


Our fund raising income for fiscal 2012-2013 accounted for approximately 70% of our total revenue. This is an accomplishment that is shared by many of you and I thank you so much for your help with our fund raising efforts! Even though this was truly a very worthy accomplishment, I believe with your help, we are capable of doing even better next year!



Legislative Report Summer 2013

By Allan Peterson


Because of time, my report will be somewhat brief; oh, now stop that, I can hear your cheering!


For those of you who follow such things, you are well aware, that the 63rd Session of the North Dakota Legislature ended its work the first days in May, taking all of its allotted 80 days to complete its deliberations. Of course, the outcomes of the session, whether you consider them to be positive or negative, are a matter of perspective. There were 918 bills or resolutions that were introduced during the session and 550 were passed into law.


There isn’t much argument that the big issues that drew so much attention during the session included providing needed support for the western part of the state most impacted by the oil boom, flood mitigation, property tax relief, health care coverage and policies on social issues. As usual, there were also many side shows which the media always seem to take great delight in reporting.


As I’ve said many times before, outside of policy decisions, the legislature has the primary responsibility to authorize the spending budgets for the agencies, institutions, and departments of state government for the next biennium. There were 3 appropriation bills that were of primary interest to us which we addressed by resolution at our 2012 NDAB Convention in Bismarck.


One of our 2012 resolutions dealt with the budget for the Older Blind Program that is administrated by Vocational Rehabilitation within the Department of Human Services. The resolution we adopted sought to increase the state appropriation for the Older Blind program to $150,000 for this next biennium.


A very brief recounting of our advocacy work on this issue: Prior to the Session, we had sought to enlist the governor’s support to increase the appropriation for the Older Blind program to the $150,000 level. However, when the governor’s budget was released prior to the beginning of the Session, it included no increase for this program. Because the governor’s budget didn’t increase this appropriation, the only way that we could possibly influence this issue was to advocate for it among legislators and to testify in support of the program when committee hearings were held at the Capitol. It should be emphasized that even if we had been successful in getting the increase into the governor’s budget, we still would have had to advocate for it; but, since it wasn’t included in the governor’s budget, it was a much harder case to make with the legislators.


As Zelda and I reported at our NDAB Convention, and to make a much longer story short, we as an organization, can take a large measure of credit in getting the legislature to increase the appropriation for the Older Blind Program to the $100,000 level. This wasn’t the full enchilada, (meaning we didn’t get the full $150,000 increase that we had sought) but in the larger scheme of things, it was about the best that we could have hoped for, since our beginning point was zero.


We very much want to acknowledge and thank those of you who helped to advocate for the budget increase for the Older Blind Program; your work to contact and speak to your legislators definitely did make a big difference. The key legislators, in this case, were ones that served on the Senate and House Appropriations Committees.


The second of our legislative priorities for this session dealt with the budget that the state appropriates for the operation of North Dakota Vision Services / School for the Blind. As reported in the prior issue of the Promoter, the governor’s budget for the operation of this institution was in line with the amount that the school had requested for this next biennium. Later, there was an additional appropriation that was requested and approved to make some significant facility improvements; most notable among these improvements will be to install an elevator to make the second floor of the NDVS/SB building more accessible.


The third of our legislative priorities for this past session was to advocate for an increased appropriation for public transit service providers in North Dakota. By directive, the state allocates 1.5% of its transportation budget which is shared on the basis of equivalent size by all public transit service providers that operate in North Dakota.


Prior to the session, a coalition of public transit service operators agreed to seek a guaranteed appropriation of $10 million for public transit service operations that are based in North Dakota. Thankfully, it can now be reported, that the $10 million guarantee was approved and will be shared, on an equivalent basis, by all qualified public transit operators in the state during this next biennium. Note: This guarantee is the floor for funding for public transit operations; if tax collections prove to be greater than $10 million, the larger level of funding in this account will be the amount that is shared by the public transit service operators in the state.


A number of the bills considered during the state legislative session could be categorized as being “disability related,” meaning they have an effect on the wellbeing of anyone with a disability. A sampling of bills in this category are affordable housing, health care, home and community based services, vocational rehabilitation – just to name a few. During the session, I met weekly with other advocates to track the progress of these issues with the goal of influencing the legislative process to make these policies more beneficial to anyone with a disability.


The need for our advocacy work never stops or goes away. So, at this year’s NDAB Convention, we adopted two resolutions, both of which deal with the introduction of proposed federal legislation. The first of these resolutions supports the introduction and passage of draft legislation that advocates choose to refer to as the Anne Sullivan Macy Act. The impetus for this legislation is due to accommodations often found to be substandard and inadequate that would identify, assess and provide the instruction and tools needed to educate children who have sight loss. The second resolution deals with the eyeglass exclusion rule which in effect has completely denied Medicare coverage for any device which incorporates a lens for magnification. To remedy this situation, the American Council of the Blind and the American Foundation for the Blind have collaborated on propose legislation that would create a demonstration project to assess the feasibility of expanding Medicare coverage to include magnification devices that cost $500 or more for persons who have “low vision” and are eligible recipients of Medicare. The text of these two resolutions is included as a part of this report.


Some final notes: I’m very pleased with the legislative luncheon that we held at this year’s NDAB Convention. To me it seemed that the legislators who attended were very engaged and offered us some great suggestions. And finally, I want to publicly thank Carmen Suminski on her retirement for her many years of service as the Superintendent of North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind. It has been a great run, Carmen; know that you will be missed! And in this vein, I want to congratulate Paul Olson for his selection as the next Superintendent of NDVS/SB – I must say that this position is again in very good hands!



NDAB Resolution 2013-01: Education of Children with Sight Loss


Whereas, the attainment of a good education is critically important to the future successes of all children regardless of whether the child is able bodied or has a disability; and,


Whereas, vision skills training needed to accommodate the needs of someone to adjust to sight loss is specific and specialized to meet the unique needs of that individual, regardless of age; and,


Whereas, The vision skills training to deal with blindness was formerly an integral part of the education of children who attended a residential school for the blind, however, today a high proportion of children who have sight loss do not attend such a school; and,


Whereas, even though today most children with sight loss are “main-streamed”, this doesn’t preclude the need for them to receive comprehensive blindness skills training that is incorporated as an integral part of their program of education. Today, in North Dakota, that skill set which is designed to be specific and specialized to deal with blindness is available at North Dakota Vision Services – School for the Blind; and,


Whereas, The blindness skills training that helps children deal with their loss of sight is a skill set that will serve them well for a lifetime and will make them more productive and employable; and,


Whereas, children who have a loss of sight, need to be identified and assessed at an early age and need to be evaluated as to their individual needs for the accommodations that are best suited for them to be educated in our schools, wherever the school they attend is located;


Now, Therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind in Convention assembled on this day, Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 at the Guest House Inn & Suites in Grand Forks, North Dakota that we, given the ongoing and future demands for children’s needs for vision skills training:


(1) Urge the U.S. Congress to introduce and pass proposed legislation that has been drafted through a collaborative effort by personnel from the American Foundation for the Blind and the American Council of the Blind, the suggested title for this bill is the “Anne Sullivan Macy Act”. Anne Sullivan was Helen Keller’s teacher who was critically important to the successes that Helen Keller was able to achieve. We urge our North Dakota congressional delegation (Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp and Congressman Kramer, to support the introduction and passage of the Anne Sullivan Macy Act that, which once enacted, will do much to advance the education of children that have sight loss in North Dakota and elsewhere throughout our nation.

(2) If the Anne Sullivan Macy Act isn’t enacted as a standalone bill, that provisions of this Act would be incorporated in full as a part of the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) whenever IDEA is considered for reauthorization by the U.S. Congress


NDAB resolution 2013-02: Demonstration Grant to Investigate the Impact of the Eyeglass Exclusion Rule that Currently Denies Medicare coverage for Low Vision Devices


Whereas, in November of 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), instituted a regulation based upon the statutory rule for eyeglass exclusion, designed to change the interpretation of the durable medical equipment prosthetics, orthotics and supplies competitive acquisition Rule, with respect to magnification devices. As a consequence of this rule change, all devices irrespective of their size, form or technological features that use one or more lens to aid vision, that provides magnification of images for people with impaired vision, are to be excluded from coverage under Medicare using the eyeglass exclusion rule, and;


Whereas, the use of the eyeglass exclusion rule to deny Medicaid coverage for low vision devices has resulted in a very detrimental impact on the lives of many with significant vision loss, and;


Whereas, the expansion of the eyeglass exclusion rule has had the effect of preventing beneficiaries their right under Medicare to access equipment such as handheld magnifiers, video monitors and other technologies that use lenses to enhance vision. These tools and devices are often essential for individuals with low vision, who without the aid of these assistive technologies, cannot read prescriptions and other materials containing content that is vital to their personal health, wellbeing and safety; and,


Whereas, people on fixed incomes, including many seniors and people with disabilities, often find the cost of purchasing this equipment burdensome and therefore are not able to purchase it on their own;


Now, Therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind in Convention assembled at the Guest House Inn Suites in Grand Forks, ND on this Sunday, of June 2, 2013, that we would urge the U.S. Congress (including members of our North Dakota congressional delegation (Senators John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Kramer), to support the introduction and passage of legislation to establish a demonstration project that would:

(1) Evaluate through a five-year national demonstration project administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, the fiscal impact of a permanent change to the Social Security Act. This legislation would allow Medicare coverage for certain low vision devices that cost five-hundred dollars or more as durable medical equipment.

(2) Individuals that are deemed to be eligible to participate in this demonstration project would need to complete a low vision exam performed by a physician who would prescribe a low vision device as equipment that is medically necessary for that person.

Summary of Provisions Included in the Anne Sullivan Macy Act

Submitted by Allan Peterson


  • Ensure that every student with vision loss is properly identified regardless of formal disability category or classification so that all students who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, are counted and properly served.


  • Expand knowledge about the scope and quality of special education and related services provided to students who are blind or visually impaired through refined data collection that tracks all students with vision loss, regardless of formal disability category or classification.


  • Expectation that states would conduct strategic planning, and commit such planning to writing, to guarantee that all students who are blind or visually impaired within each state receive all specialized instruction and services needed by students with vision loss provided by properly trained personnel.


  • Clarify that proper evaluation of students who are blind or visually impairedincludes evaluation for students’ needs for instruction in communication and productivity (including braille instruction, and assistive technology proficiency inclusive of low vision devices where appropriate); self-sufficiency and interaction (including orientation and mobility, self-determination, sensory efficiency, socialization, recreation and fitness, and independent living skills); and age appropriate career education. Such instruction and services constitute the Expanded Core Curriculum, the body of services which teachers of students with visual impairments and related professions are expertly trained to provide.


  • Ramp up U.S. Department of Education responsibilities to monitor and report on states’ compliance with their obligations with respect to instruction and services specifically provided to students who are blind or visually impaired.


  • Assist parents and educators of students who are blind or visually impaired through regular and up-to-date written policy guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.


  • Establish a national collaborative organizational resource, the Anne Sullivan Macy Center on Vision Loss and Educational Excellence, to proliferate evidence-based practices in the education of students who are blind or visually impaired, to keep special educators current with the latest instructional methods, and to supplement state and local educational agency provision of the instruction and services constituting the Expanded Core Curriculum.

Today is the Best

Submitted by Susan Jorgenson


Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt, crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)



We Connect Now


We Connect Now is a website dedicated to uniting college students with disabilities in access to higher education and employment issues. It was created by Gabriela McCall Delgado while a freshman in college in 2008. She has a learning disability and is a recent graduate from LSU with a BA in Philosophy.


One of the goals of this site is to help college students with disabilities to succeed in their studies by getting the information and support they need, both through resources, links, blogs, latest news, studying existing laws and regulation and through personal contacts. Through this website people can also share and read other people’s stories as a source of support and comfort. People are encouraged to use the webpage to take action by writing blogs, hosting an event or becoming involved in politics by knowing about upcoming legislation.  Also, every month the webpage will focus on a particular disability or condition to bring its visitors more information and support related to the focus of the month. They also hope to help empower people with disabilities find employment through job posting and job searching tips through the job section.


Check it out at



Televised Emergency Information to Be Accessible to Blind


Secondary audio stream must convey emergency information aurally when it is conveyed visually


The U.S. government has adopted rules requiring video programming distributors and providers—including program owners—to make televised emergency information accessible to individuals who are blind, or otherwise visually impaired.


On May 24, the Federal Communications Commission posted a Federal Register notice—Accessible Emergency Information; Apparatus Requirements for Emergency Information and Video Description: Implementation of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010—that provides details on the regulation, which takes effect on June 24.

To meet the regulation, video programming providers, distributors and program owners must use a secondary audio stream to convey televised emergency information aurally when such information is conveyed visually during programming other than newscasts, such as in an on-screen crawl, the FCC says.

The requirement will serve the public interest by ensuring that televised emergency information is accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, the FCC says. In addition, the FCC is requiring certain devices that play back or record video programming to make available video description services and accessible emergency information. Specifically, the device rules require a secondary audio stream, which is currently used to provide video descriptions, be configured to provide aural emergency information.


Examples of the types of emergencies in which an audio stream would be required include tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, icy conditions, heavy snows, widespread fires, discharge of toxic gases, widespread power failures, industrial explosions, civil disorders, school closings and changes in school bus schedules resulting from such conditions, and warnings and watches of impending changes in weather, the FCC says.


Among the “critical details” that are to be made part of such emergency broadcast include the areas affected by the emergency, evacuation orders, specific evacuation routes, approved shelters or the way to take shelter in a dwelling, instructions on securing personal property, road closures and how to obtain relief assistance, the FCC says.



The Flight

By Janelle F. Olson


This past spring, I developed a chronic, annoying, dry cough that just wouldn’t go away. Morning, noon and all through the night I coughed just stopping short of expelling a lung. I was not the only one being affected; just ask my husband and coworker. The beginning of June, when it wouldn’t go away and when none of us could stand it any longer, I made an appointment to see the doctor. After a listen to my breathing and a chest x-ray, it was determined the medication I had been taking for high blood pressure might be the likely culprit and it was discontinued. “Give it a two week hiatus,” my doctor said. “Just don’t take it and we shall see what happens,” he added. It appeared his assessment of the source of my problem would prove to be correct.


At the end of the two week drug holiday, there was both good and bad news. While I had quit making that honking noise which sounded like a cross between a barking dog and a Canadian goose, my blood pressure number had resumed the crawl skyward. I would have to try another one to get it under control.


“Your new prescription has been called into your pharmacy,” the nurse said. “You should be able to pick it up this afternoon and I would start it right away,” she added. Mid-afternoon, on that Friday, June 21st, I told my support staff I was going to take the two block walk to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription before I forgot and out the door I went.

The pleasantly warm afternoon met me with the smells of barbecue from a downtown restaurant and hot tar from a street patching project. The usual amount of traffic was around me and a bicyclist whizzed by. I stepped off the block headed east for Main and my new bottle of pills. What a great little leg stretcher, afternoon break this would be!


I thought as long as I was near JC Penny, I would duck in and pick up a couple items for my mother-in-law which took maybe five minutes. With bag in hand, I thought just one more stop before the pharmacy to take care of that nagging craving I had had since noon for a maple frosted doughnut would be perfect and I ventured north on Main to find the new “Go Go Doughnuts” store. I had visited twice before, but had been dropped off directly across from their door both times on my way to work by the transit. I didn’t even give it another thought as I was sure I could find it.


It was at this point, my day got very interesting. Motivated by the taste of that warm, maple frosted doughnut in my mouth, I caned my way just north of JC Penny to find the bakery door. “It can’t be more than two doors down,” I said to myself as I found a door, opened it up and stepped in. “Nope, not this one,” I decided. The arrangement of this establishment was not my remembrance of the doughnut shop. In this space there were desks and folks talking on phones. I backed out and let the door close. My cane and I then continued north on the sidewalk. I successfully found another door, opened it and stepped in. “Yes, this must be it,” I said to myself. I was just milliseconds away from that tasty treat! I saw the slight ramped incline to the right which takes customers up to the display counter. It appeared to be covered with one of those black, rubber rugs to help with slippage. I angled to the right, took a rather long stride with my right foot to start up the incline and unknowingly and unwillingly, all because I wanted one silly doughnut and was using my eyes and not my cane, became a human science project; that being people and the law of gravity. There was no rug. There was no incline. There was just nothingness and in that one stride, I came to the horrific realization that the blackness I saw was open space and I was at the top of a stairwell. I couldn’t stop what I knew was about to happen and I wondered just how long it would last and just how it would end.


The next thing I heard was high pitched, glass shattering screaming… mine. I fell forward, twisting in the air as my feet and hands scrambled frantically to grab onto something, anything to make the falling stop. This action, while I am guessing must be deeply embedded onto some automatic self preservation gene, was as successful as willing the sun to rise at midnight for there was no footing or anything on which to grab. There was only air and random bumping and slamming as my flight continued. The sound of my screaming filled the air. My three-strap sandals and my feet parted company as my heels repeatedly slammed down on the edge of steps desperately searching for footing. My shopping bag and cane just disappeared.


With every bump and hit, I wondered how many steps were on this stairway, when the fall would end and how much of me would be broken when it was over. My neck? My back? A leg or arm?Would this be my last activity on this earth serving as my doorway to eternity? I must say there was no “life flashing before my eyes,” but only the feeling of unbridled, white knuckled sheer terror as I fell forward, twisted to the right, and flew through the air now positioned headfirst and backwards as the speed increased.


Then, with an insulting blow to the back of my head and a right side body slam, I came to an abrupt stop at the bottom of which I soon would learn was a sixteen step, cement stairway. My purse, which amazingly remained over my left shoulder the entire trip, held with it the final velocity of the fall as it shot off of my shoulder, sailed through the air and landed six feet away with a thump. The keys in the side pocket jingled a closing exclamation point and “the flight” was mercifully over.


One moment of ear shattering stillness slowly morphed into the sound of voices. I listened, but heard no angels singing, well, singing an anthem of greeting. In the next instant, I was enveloped in warm, supportive and ever so comforting arms as I felt the cool floor below me. I slowly opened my eyes and looked up into the face of a beautiful dark-haired woman as I heard someone say, “Call 9-1-1.” It was at this point I was quite confident I was neither dead nor in the doughnut shop.


“Hey, I know you,” The woman said. “I think we go to the same yoga class,” she added. “I was going to get a doughnut,” was what I heard myself say.


I guess I might be stating the obvious, but I had overshot my destination and landed in the arms of the owner of “Hair Safari.” Nothing like a lady falling down a flight of stairs in the middle of your work day to create quite the ruckus!


Yes, the first responders came and checked me out. Just three broken fingernails and a missing button off of one of my shoes. What an unbelievable miracle! Well, I must add that that high blood pressure of mine was even a bit higher, but was it any wonder?


I declined a trip to the ER in the ambulance, accepted the gracious offer made by Leticia to fix my broken nails, gathered up my items and headed to the pharmacy to pick up my pills. Yes, later I did go to the ER to get checked out and all my parts were just fine.


How do I bring the telling of this true life event to a close? I suppose a “moral to the story” would be appropriate. Before I get there, I would like to mention that my son asked if the space I had walked into “smelled” like a doughnut store. Great question in hindsight. I should have used my nose. Having a nose and using it are two separate matters. I suppose the same also applies to a white cane!


As a PS, the kind owner of the doughnut shop came next-door, was updated on the happening and brought me a maple frosted doughnut.



Popover Pancakes

Submitted by Susan Jorgenson


Heat oven to 425º

4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour. Mix with a spoon. Pour into a heated casserole with tablespoon of butter melted. I use a cast iron fry pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Cut in fourths and serve with syrup.



Nominations for the 2014 Migel Medals

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss


The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is pleased to announce an invitation for nominations for the 2014 Migel Medals, the highest honor in the blindness field. The Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, the first chairperson of AFB, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements have significantly improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired. The Migel Medal Awards consists of two categories, the Professional Award and the Lay Volunteer Award.


Professional Award nominees should be those whose career work significantly impacts services to people with vision loss on a national level. Prospective candidates include, but are not limited to, professionals with specific training and expertise in education, rehabilitation, assistive technology, vision rehabilitation, personnel preparation, administration, or related fields. They may work in the public or private sector and their work should span several years.


Lay/Volunteer Award nominees may be volunteers or professionals not employed within the blindness and visual impairment field whose efforts have supported or extended service to people with vision loss. Professionals from these disciplines may include, but are not limited to, those who develop assistive technology equipment and software, health care devices, and improved medical services.


Nominations for AFB’s 2014 Migel Medals are due by Friday, October 4, 2013, and should be e-mailed to Scott Truax, Program Manager FamilyConnect at

Nominators should send a one-page description of the nominee and his/her accomplishments, or fill out our online nomination form at You must also submit two letters of support with the nomination.



Dr. Sam Genensky Memorial Video Magnifier Scholarship

Council of Citizens with Low Vision International’s Dr. Sam Genensky Memorial Video Magnifier scholarship is currently available and ready to receive your application and materials until September 13th, 2013.


The Dr. Sam Genensky Memorial Video Magnifier award is in tribute to the inventor of the CCTV. This award provides multiple video magnifiers of varying brands and styles to students and adults demonstrating a need.  To read about the specific guidelines and to apply for the award, visit If you have further questions, please e-mail



Weight Watchers Announces Accessibility Initiative for Blind and Visually Impaired Members


Weight Watchers International, Inc. has announced its ongoing initiative to make its websites, mobile applications and print information more accessible and inclusive for its members and subscribers with visual impairments. The efforts were praised by blind community leaders.


Weight Watchers has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.0 level AA as its accessibility standard for both web and mobile applications, and has already made substantial enhancements to its websites to meet this standard. Weight Watchers has also strengthened its system for providing Braille, Large Print, and Audio versions of print information to members with visual impairments. Weight Watchers worked with the American Council of the Blind and Weight Watchers members and subscribers with vision loss on its accessibility initiative.


Weight Watchers has already begun making accessibility improvements, and will continue doing so in the future. Information about the initiative can be found on the Weight Watchers website at



2013 Family Adjustment Seminar

By Janelle Olson, Chairperson


Spring finally arrived and now we are enjoying summer. Sooner than we know we will be sliding into fall which will bring with it the 2013 Family Adjustment Seminar to be happening in Bismarck on Saturday, October 12th. If you are a person with vision loss who has never attended, this is for you. For those of you who have attended, keep a watch out for those in your community whom you think may be interested in attending and tell them about your experience. Should you want further information or if you are interested in attending, give me a call at 701-570-0801.



NDAB Pre-convention Board Meeting

May 31, 2013


BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Loris Van Berkom, Allan Peterson, Helen Baumgartner, Zelda Gebhard, Donna Hepper, Mark Kueffler, Alexandra Engraf

GUESTS: Doug Stip, Mary Stip


President Mark called the meeting to order at 2:20 at the Guesthouse Hotel in Grand Forks, North Dakota.


There was a motion to approve the consent agenda items. Mark made additions to the agenda. Allan made a motion to approve the agenda as amended. The motion was seconded and carries.


  1. Business


  1. Secretary’s Report (Ali): There is no correspondence. Sympathy cards have been sent out on behalf of Oliver Zentz.
  2. Treasurer’s Report (Helen): The current balance of the checking account is $67,573, which was in agreement with the audit. No updates on other accounts.


  1. Committee Reports


  1. Camp Report (Loris): Camp rates went up this year to $250. Kathy Johnson will be our camp nurse, and we are still looking for a lifeguard. A discussion was held about camp classes. Zelda made a motion to accept the camp classes as presented with leniency. The motion was seconded and carries. A discussion was held about funds for camp instructors. This discussion included reimbursement for gas mileage. Zelda made a motion to raise the reimbursement rate for gas mileage from 25 cents a mile to 50 cents a mile. The motion was seconded and carries.
  2. Financial Chair (Allan): A written report was presented concerning fundraising efforts. The donations received totaled $30564. The walk raised over $19,000.
  3. Legislative Report (Allan & Zelda): The level of funding for the Older Blind Advocacy Program was raised by $100,000. There is a guaranteed $10 million funding for transit services in North Dakota. The North Dakota School for the Blind also received adequate funding. The proposed resolutions were read. Loris made a motion to recommend a do pass on resolution 2013-02. The motion was seconded and carries. Loris made a motion to recommend a do pass on resolution 2013-01. The motion was seconded and carries.
  4. Membership Report (Zelda):

Since our last meeting, we have approved the following members: Stan Mosser, Elizabeth Fedorchak, Genie Lang, Kristina Brown, Robert Gruchala, Dean Peterson, and Danielle Irving, Kathryn Loe. We have also lost one member, Oliver Zentz.

There was a suggestion to make a handbook and packet for new members to increase awareness about the North Dakota Association of the Blind.

  1. Incentive Award (Mark):

The winner of the first participation incentive award will be announced tomorrow night.

  1. Nominating committee (Loris):

Kathryn Schmidt and Mary Stip are running for Board Director.

Kathy Larson is running for editor.

Mike Hoeppner and Melissa Miller are running for Delegate to the ACB Convention.


III.          Old Business:


  1. Bremer Bank (Mark): The money that Bremer bank donates is to be used towards a specific project. More information regarding this opportunity is still being investigated.
  2. Strategic Plan (Mark): The meeting regarding our strategic plan will be held at noon on the Friday of Family Adjustment Seminar weekend in Bismarck, North Dakota. The meeting is projected to last four hours.


  1. New Business


  1. ACBS’s Adopt a Student Program (Zelda): The ACB Students put forth a plan where you could adopt a student. This essentially means that ACBS would finance half of the essential expenses for the adopted student to attend national convention. We would finance the other half of these essential expenses, allowing the adopted student to attend nation convention free of any essential costs. If we participated in this program, our projected expenses would be approximately $700.
  2. Online Financial Minutes (Mark): Discussion was held about posting financial information online. This is a difficult issue, because we want members to know this information, but we do not want it to get into the wrong hands. This issue will be presented to the convention body tomorrow.
  3. 2015 Convention Site: Holding the convention in Williston or Minot is just not very practical given current expenses, which these locations present. Jamestown and Carrington were mentioned as possible convention sites. This will be decided at the convention on Sunday.
  4. Speaker System: Rick no longer has room for the PA System. We use this system for camp, Family Adjustment Seminar and convention. It would be best if the PA system was housed by a board member.
  5. Good News (Mary and Doug): The dubber was fixed. They paid a $30 deposit and $35.64 to fix it. The total expense was $65.64. They also were given a tape duplicator.


  1. Announcements


  1. Allan has brochures, stationary, and thank you cards.
  2. Allan is selling Braille Forum raffle tickets.


  1. Date and time of next board Meeting


The date and time of the next board meeting will be tentatively held on June 2nd at 12 p.m.


Meeting adjourned at 3:43.


Respectfully submitted

Alexandra Engraf

NDAB Secretary

May 31, 2013

The minutes were approved



2013 NDAB Convention


The NDAB convention began with the presentation of colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was said. God Bless America was sung. Olga Neal led the convention body in an invocation. Brett Webber, Grand Forks city councilman, welcomed the convention body. President Mark thanked the convention planning committee for all their hard work.

The 77 NDAB Convention was called to order at 8:43 a.m. The standing rules were given by Laurie McHenry. Roll call was taken with 35 voting members present. Mike runners are Rick Feldman and Steven Gebhard.

There was consent to approve agenda items. The agenda was approved.


  1. Officer Reports


  1. Executive Report:

The executive report was given and is placed on file.

  1. Secretary’s Report:

The pre-convention board meeting minutes were read by Susan. Loris made a motion to accept the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded and carries.

  1. Treasurer’s Report (Helen):

Helen reports the audit review balance to the penny.

  1. Editor’s Report (Kathy Larson)

The Promoter is sent out four times a year in the format a member requests. 54 are e-mailed, 65 large print, four in Braille, and 33 cassette tapes. Please let the editor know if you would like to change the way you receive the Promoter. There was discussion about the Promoter going digital. The Promoter is online, and if members were sent reminders, they could access the latest issues online. A question was posed and addressed about the costs of cartridges for digital copies of the Promoter. Flash drives were suggested as a possible option for recordings of the Promoter. CD-RWs and mini-CDs were also mentioned as possible digital devices for recordings of the Promoter.

David Webber addressed the convention body regarding the venders at the convention. Some of the products included the new Victor Stream and devices, which use OCR (Optical Character Recognition). There is a new low vision store in Mandan. The address is 320 W Maine. NDAB duffle bags are also available for purchase.

A paper was passed around for Dave Sundeen.

Door prizes were given away and there was a coffee break at 10 AM.

Convention resumed at 10:20 .m.

A panel was organized to discuss the recruitment of new members and the organization’s use of communication. The panel consisted of Alexandra Engraf, Zelda Gebhard, Whitney Engbrecht, and Milissa Miller.  Door prizes were given. The convention was dismissed at 11:35 a.m.

The Legislative Luncheon began at 12:00.

Convention resumed at 1 p.m.


  1. Committee Reports


  1. Camp Report (Loris):

The camp report was given and was placed on file. Kathy Johnson will be our 2013 camp nurse. We are still looking for a lifeguard. Camp classes are still being finalized. Please tell others about camp. Loris will contact those whose names you share.

  1. Nominating Report (Loris on behalf of Paula):

The nominating report was given and is placed on file.

  1. Family Adjustment Seminar Report:

This report was given by Janelle Olson. The 2013 Family Adjustment Seminar will be in Bismarck in October. Please share names with Janelle via phone or e-mail.

  1. Financial Chair Report:

This report was given by Allan Peterson and is placed on file.

  1. Budget Report:

The budget for next year was proposed.

  1. Legislative Report (Allan & Zelda): The legislative report was given and placed on file.
  2. Membership Report: The Membership report was given by Zelda and is placed on file.


III.         Business


  1. Resolutions
  2. ACB Delegate Report: This report was given by Zelda and is placed on file.
  3. Public Relations Report: This report was read by Susan for Sherry and is placed on file.
  4. Strategic Plan

A discussion was held about the strategic plan. Concerns were brought up about the cost and reasoning behind the development of this plan. Questions were brought up about the organization we have decided to collaborate with to produce our strategic plan.  ACB has recently gone through the process of developing a strategic plan. The strategic plan is a tool that can help us plan for the future. The preliminary is available for any members interested. The consensus council is a group of three people. Further questions about this organization may be answered by going to their website or contacting Michelle Zentz. Appreciation was expressed for the board’s decision to take this action.


  1. New Business


  1. Adopt a Student Program:

Zelda addressed the convention body about the American Council of the Blind Students (ACBS) Adopt a Student Program. Discussion was held about our expectations for students and the expectations of ACBS for students. It was also noted that the dollar amount could vary.

Kathy Larson made a motion to participate in the ACBS Adopt a Student Program for a year with whatever stipulations the committee decides. The motion was seconded and carries.


  1. Announcements


  1. Mary Stip thanked Loris for the opportunity to participate in a camp class, where she learned how to make her hat. She is giving three hundred fifty dollars to NDAB, which she has collected from making hats. Use talents to make money and give back to NDAB. Mary wants the check to go to camp funding.
  2. Allan has Braille Forum raffle Tickets.


Meeting adjourned at 4:31 p.m.


June 2nd 2013

8 a.m.: Memorial Service for Sandra Parsons, Jake Lima, Mabel Feldman, and Oliver Zentz.


President Mark called the meeting to order at 9:06 a.m.


  1. New Business


  1. ACB Auction

Discussion was held about donations to the ACB Auction. Ruth Phalen made a motion to donate fifty dollars to the ACB auction. The motion was seconded and carries. Individuals can also donate to the auction. It was noted that the auction was limited to ninety items this year. We usually take the fifty dollars and purchase an item for the auction.


  1. Unfinished Business


  1. Online Financial Information

Discussion was held about disclosing financial information in our online minutes.

A discussion was held about providing our financial information online.  We may be giving unwanted individuals a reason to consider pursuing our financial accounts by providing our financial information online. If donors see those figures, they might not want to donate to our organization.  There was a suggestion to attach the treasurer’s report to the minutes, and to not include this attachment in the online minutes in the Promoter. It is not in our best manner as an organization to put this financial information out there. This is not a criticism of the secretary’s work. Having a member login on the website was suggested. There was also a suggestion to distribute the financial information at the annual convention. It was noted that we are public. Full disclosure needs to be given. If full disclosure is not given, people might wonder what we are hiding. There is a difference between having this information out there and having access to our accounts. How are people without any sight going to accessibly read this financial information if it were to be distributed at convention? Loris made a motion to have “the treasurer’s report was given, and is on file” as listed in the secretary’s minutes. A point was made that the treasurer’s report can still be E-mailed. The motion was withdrawn. A recommendation was made to develop a committee to further consider this issue.

Matt Engbrecht made a motion to move this discussion to a committee. The motion was seconded.

The board brought this concern to a discussion among the body. Questions were posed as to why we would want to move it back to a smaller group for consideration. ACB distributes this information to the ACB board. The motion was withdrawn. Stan Larson made a motion to discontinue the current practice of publishing the treasure’s report within the minutes and present the treasurer’s report to the board members at each board meeting and to the convention body at its annual meeting to each member present. Accessibility was stated as a major concern for this motion. The motion was seconded and carries.

  1. Video Magnifier Program:

Discussion was held about the Lion’s foundation’s Video Magnifier Program. Allan Peterson made a motion that NDAB donate money to purchase a video magnifier for the Lion’s Foundation’s Video Magnifier Program. The motion was seconded and carries. Discussion was held about fundraising efforts and donors. It was noted that there is a CCTV at the Grand Forks library not being used.

10 a.m.: Coffee Break

10:15 a.m.: Convention Resumes.

Roll call was taken, with 34 voting members present.


  1. Unfinished Business (continued)


  1. Gas Reimbursements:

A discussion was held about board members using gas reimbursements.

This is strictly for NDAB business. There are two situations when mileage is paid. It is paid for instructors at camp and for the staff to travel to Family Adjustment Seminar. The Family Adjustment Seminar staff are mostly board members. It was further noted that we also practice this reimbursement when we go to legislative sessions to testify for legislative efforts.

10:35: Coffee Break 10:45: Convention Resumes


  1. Resolutions:

The two resolutions were read: NDAB Resolution 2013-02: Demonstration Project to Investigate the Impact of the Eyeglass Exclusion Rule that Currently Denies Medicare coverage for Low Vision Devices and NDAB Resolution 2013-01: Education of Children with Sight Loss Both were passed.

Discussion was held about resolution 2.

  1. Budget proposition:

The proposed budget was read. A recommended amendment was to double the mileage total under camp from $3,500 to $7,000. There should also be an increase to the camp rate to $3,000. The strategic plan should be placed in the budget as a separate line item. There was also an increase to the Braille forum from $300 to $500. Milissa Miller made a motion to approve the proposed budget. The motion was seconded. A standing vote was taken. 15 for, 14 against. The motion carries.


  1. Elections


  1. Editor:

The name the nominating committee places on the ballot for editor is Kathy Larson.

Whitney Engbrecht was nominated from the floor. The nomination was seconded. Voting was cast via written ballot. Kathy will be our editor

  1. Board Director:

The names the nominating committee places on the ballot for board director are Kathryn Schmidt and Mary Stip. Milissa Miller was nominated from the floor and deferred. Janelle Olson was nominated from the floor and accepted. Each candidate was given an opportunity to talk. Voting was cast via written ballot. Janelle Olson will be our new board director.

  1. 2014 ACB Convention Delegate

The nominating committee recommends Milissa Miller and Mike Hoeppner possible convention delegates. Each candidate was given an opportunity to speak. Voting was cast via written ballot. Mike Hoeppner will be our delegate for the 2014 ACB Convention in Las Vegas.


III.         2015 NDAB Convention Site:

Discussion was held about possible sites for the 2015 NDAB Convention. Kathy Larson made a motion for the board to be in charge of the convention in 2015. The motion was seconded and carries.


  1. Announcements:


  1. Lester Ketterling scholarship is being established by the Blind Lawyers Association.
  2. Kathy wanted to acknowledge and thank Loris for being a board member.
  3. Lay name tags on table in back to be used for next year’s convention.
  4. Thanks to staff in the convention center.
  5. Thanks to the NDAB board.


President Mark was acknowledged for all his efforts during his first year as president.

Excitement was expressed regarding the safe and people friendly environment.


Matt Engbrecht made a motion to adjourn the 2013 NDAB Convention. The motion was seconded and carries.


Meeting adjourned at 11:47 p.m.


Respectfully submitted

Alexandra Engraf

NDAB Secretary

July 6, 2013

Approved on July 18, 2013 via E-mail.



NDAB Post-convention Board Meeting

June 2, 2013


BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Zelda Gebhard, Donna Hepper, Allan Peterson, Janelle Olson, Helen Baumgartner, Mark Kueffler, Alexandra Engraf


President Mark called the meeting to order at 12:12 p.m. in the conference room of the Guesthouse Hotel in Grand Forks, North Dakota.


  1. Business


  1. Welcome New Board Member: Janelle Olson was welcomed to the board as the new board director.
  2. Respect and communication: A discussion was held about respect and communication. this reiterated previous discussions regarding respect and communication from previous meetings.
  3. Code of conduct: Codes of Conduct were passed out. Everyone should be knowledgeable about this form and these forms should be signed and given to Alexandra. This form will be E-mailed electronically to the board by Mark in order to give everyone a chance to accessibly take its contents into consideration.
  4. ACB Convention Stipends (Helen): We have received requests for stipends from Allan Peterson, Donna Hepper, and Mary Stip. Zelda made a motion to approve Allan, Donna, and Mary for stipends to attend the ACB convention. The motion was seconded and carries.
  5. Membership Applications (Zelda): Wayne Trottier, a guest at legislative luncheon filled out an application to become a member. Helen made a motion to approve Wayne as a member. The motion was seconded and carries.
  6. The Proposed Budget (Allan): There are copies of proposed budget to give to the board. This will allow board members to better review and beneficially keep to utilize as a reference if/when necessary.
  7. Post-convention Board Meeting: A discussion was held about canceling this meeting. We do need to make sure we have a good number of meetings. Stipends could be asked for and approved prior to convention. The board has to meet four times a year. Further discussion will occur later regarding this issue.
  8. Business Conducted Between Meetings. A discussion was held about how we conduct business between board meetings. E-mail is used as a primary means of accomplishing business between board meetings. When replying to E-mails to approve/disapprove certain propositions, remember to “Reply All”.
  9. Participation Incentive Program: Excitement was expressed regarding the results of the first year implementing the participation Incentive Program. There was a suggestion to add another portion to the program. This portion would focus on public awareness through such methods as presentations or media interaction. Zelda made a motion to add “making a public awareness” to the participation incentive program as a total of five points per event. The motion was seconded and carries. An announcement will go in the Promoter.
  10. Robert’s Rules of Order: A discussion was held about the importance of Robert’s Rules of Order. Though it is not necessary to follow these rules, they do assist in creating more organized meetings. We should do our best to learn more about these rules and how to successfully practice them during board meetings. Mark discovered an educational program regarding Robert’s Rules of Order, and he invested in this accessible DVD educational program regarding these rules. Mark purchased copies of this DVD for each board member. A DVD was distributed to every member. Have the worksheet done by next board meeting.
  11. New Members and Information: Discussion was held about new members and providing them with information about NDAB. There was a suggestion to develop an orientation program for new members to provide them with information about NDAB. There will be further discussion regarding this subject matter at the next meeting.


  1. Announcements


  1. I you have any team building ideas for the board, please let Mark know.


III.          Date and Time of Next Board Meeting


The next board meeting will be determined at a later date.


Meeting adjourned at 1:03 p.m.


Respectfully submitted

Alexandra Engraf

NDAB Secretary

June 30, 2013

Approved on July 18, 2013 via E-mail.

North to Alaska!


The 39th Annual Ski for Light International Week will take place from Sunday, February 23rd through Sunday March 2nd in Anchorage, Alaska. Participants will be staying at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Anchorage with ski trails only a short drive away at Kincaid Park, a world class ski area with 60 km of professionally groomed cross-country ski trails. Not only will participants have access to fabulous ski trails and a fun urban setting, but they will also be in Anchorage for the celebrations surrounding the Iditarod Ski Race. Iditarod ceremonial start is on Saturday, March 1st just a walk away from the hotel.


The Planning Committee is looking forward to playing in the snow with their Ski for Light family next February!

Additional information about the 2014 event and applications can be found on line at



The following poem was read at the NDAB memorial service on Sunday, June 2, 2013 by Chaplain Toni Betting


The Treasures In You


There are treasures in life, but owners are few

Of money and power to buy things brand new

Yet you can be wealthy and feel regal too,

If you will just look for the treasures in you.


These treasures in life are not hard to find

When you look in your heart, your soul, and your mind.

For when you are willing to share what’s within,

Your fervent search for riches will end.


The joy and the laughter, the smile that you bring;

The heart unafraid to love and to sing;

The hand always willing to help those in need;

Ones quick to reach out, to labor and feed.


So thank you for sharing these great gifts inside;

The caring, the cheering, the hug when one cried.

Thanks for the energy, encouragement too,

And thank you for sharing the treasures in you.











A Decision I Must Make Every Day

Reprinted with permission by Steve Goodier


Gretchen Alexander is sightless. But she refuses to allow her blindness to limit her life activities. She enjoys archery, golf, softball, sailing and water-skiing, as well as a number of other activities that those of us who are sighted have yet to learn.

She also speaks to groups about living life fully. When speaking to a group of high school students, she was once asked if there was anything she wouldn’t try.

“I’ve decided to never skydive,” she answered. “It would scare the heck out of my dog.”

Why do some people rise above their problems and live life fully, while others become defeated? Merle Shain explains it this way: “There are only two ways to approach life, as a victim or as a gallant fighter. And every day the decision is ours.” Or put another way, we can believe we’re helpless or we can believe we’re powerful and capable. And every day we reaffirm our belief.

Another person who knew what it was like to live sightless, not to mention soundless, was Helen Keller. She famously pointed out that “although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of suffering.” Does that sound someone who believes she is helpless, or like someone who believes she is capable?

I love the perspective of a shop owner in Nottingham, England. He posted this notice in the window of his coat store: “We have been established for over 100 years and have been pleasing and displeasing customers ever since. We have made money and lost money, suffered the effects of coal nationalization, coat rationing, government control and bad payers. We have been cussed and discussed, messed about, lied to, held up, robbed and swindled. The only reason we stay in business is to see what happens next.” Though he lifts up a myriad of hardships they’ve endured, they somehow figured out how to stay in business. Does that sound like someone who believes he is helpless… or capable?

When discouraged some people will give up, give in or give out far too early. They blame their problems on difficult situations, unreasonable people or their own inabilities.

When discouraged other people will push back that first impulse to quit, push down their initial fear, push through feelings of helplessness and push ahead. They’re less likely to find something to blame and more likely to find a way through.

For me, it’s an important decision about whether I want to live my life fully and with courage or whether I will be forever defeated by harsh circumstances. It’s a decision about believing I am powerful enough and capable enough. And it’s a decision I must make every day of my life.


NDAB Leadership Roster



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


Alexandra Engraf, 1303 8th St NW, Hettinger ND  58639 #206-1028


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

Paula Anundson, 151 S Central #206, Valley City ND  58072 #490-0888

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

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


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

Publicity Chairperson:

Sherry DeFrancesco, 615 1st Ave N #404, Grand Forks ND  58203 #914-720-2319

Local News Reporters:

Bismarck: Bob Vandal, 1311 N 3rd St, Bismarck ND  58501 #400-0109

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

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

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