The Promoter August 2015

Official Publication of the North Dakota Association of the Blind

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

Editor: Kathy Larson   

Not they who lack sight, but they who lack vision are blind.

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

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


Table of Contents


Greetings from the President 1
Note from the Editor 2
Welcome New Members 3
Members of our NDAB Family 3
Are You Ready! 4
Member News from Around the State 4
2015 LePage Award 7
The Edwin Christensen Award 7
Vision Statement Contest Results 8
NDAB Memorials and Donations 8
Many Thanks 9
Candy’s Corner 9
Fund Raising Report for 2013-2014 10
Amtrak Celebrates ADA 25th Anniversary 11
From Voice of America 12
Did You Know 13
Recipe Round Up 13
The Barefoot Lawyer 14
Rodeo Vision 14
Legislative Report Summer 2015 15
2015 ACB Legislative Seminar Report 17
NDAB Resolution 2015-01 19
NDAB Resolution 2015-02 20
NDAB Resolution 2015-03 21
Board Meeting Minutes 5/17/2015 22
Pre-Convention Board Minutes 6/12/2015 24
NDAB Convention Minutes 6/13/2015 25
Post-Convention Board Minutes 31
United States Blind Golf Association 32
Support Groups Near You 33
When Suffering Visits 34
NDAB Roster 35



Greetings from the President

Hello Team ND,

I hope this finds you with clear blue skies and smiling faces. I am not sure what the skies are like where you are my friends, but here in West Fargo they have been smoky, hazy, and apparently full of allergens or something from the forest fires we all are hearing about. I have always been blessed to not have any known allergies, but I can honestly say I have a new respect for those of you that deal with allergies.


This year the state convention was held in Jamestown at the Gladstone Inn, and if you were not one of the lucky attendees, you missed another great convention! Your NDAB Board was placed with the task of putting together this year’s convention and I want to personally thank each and every board member for all of their time and dedication in making this year’s state convention a successful one. I would also like to give special recognition to Zelda Gebhard and Paula Anundson; I am exceedingly grateful for all of your hard work and dedication in making everything come together to provide our NDAB members with a great 2015 convention. Additionally, to all those that helped with counting votes, Sargent of Arms, mike runners, Laurie McHenry theparliamentarian, speakers, vendors, anyone that helped in anyway, and most importantly all of you, our members – thank you. Having a successful convention all comes down to one thing… teamwork! Great work everyone!

Additionally, I would like to express my deepest and sincere gratitude as being selected as this year’s Ed Christensen Award recipient. I have watched many individuals, of whom I have greatrespect, receive this award over the years but never thought I would be among those names. I don’t think I have ever been more surprised; I still can’t believe it. Thank you so very much! Congratulations and welcome to Carol Schmitt, our newest NDAB board member. I look forward to working with you. I am greatly saddened to see Dianne Giessinger resign from the secretary position. Dianne, it was wonderful having you as secretary and I very much appreciate your dedication and time on the board. I sincerely hope that someday you have the opportunity to be on the board in the future. Also, very special thanks to Donna Hepper for your years of service to the board; great job! You will be greatly missed.

“Plan for the future”

Participation in any organization is crucial to their existence, and I sincerely hope that there are many of you looking to serve on the board in the coming years. As Paula, our nominating committee chair would likely agree, finding members to run for board positions is like trying to pull teeth. We have many positions becoming available next year including mine, and I would like to highly encourage you to consider running for the board. Being on the board provides great opportunities and gives you a new perspective as to the running of our organization. I strongly believe NDAB has a brilliant future, and with your help we can guarantee that future generations of NDAB members will also experience the greatness of NDAB. So, plan for the future, plan on attending next year’s awesome 80th State Convention in Williston. Be a part of what’s happening, get involved, participate, and have fun!

Great Job Team!

Creating our future today, together!

Mark Kueffler, President



Note from the Editor

By Kathy Larson


I can only wonder how it can already be the beginning of my 4th year as editor of the Promoter! They say that time flies when you’re having fun.


Speaking of fun, it’s been a very good summer here. Stan and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary with many family members and friends. All of Stan’s 8 siblings from across the U.S., our children and grandkids, my sisters and some of the next generation of families, and our bridal party came for a fun-filled fantastic weekend in June! Now we have just returned home from a two-week trip to Norway with family and friends…another fun-filled fantastic time!


Thanks for the quotes sent in for this issue. Loris Van Berkom submitted these:

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” -Art Linkletter


“Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.” -Albert Camus


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” -Maya Angelou


Helen Baumgartner sent in this one:

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.


Here is one from Michelle Zentz:

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” -Isaac Newton


As in prior Promoters, I will be including articles written by Steve Goodier at the end of each issue.


Happy “rest of the summer!”



Welcome New NDAB Members


We welcome the following members to NDAB: Jacqueline McDougallof and Jennelle Field from Fargo, Brant and Tonya Adams of Mansfield, Ohio, David Pahl and James Johnson both from Edgeley, Angie Kokett and Marilyn Garrett both of Jamestown, Vince Ulstad from Fargo, Deb Johnsen from Grand Forks, and Frank Eller from Belcourt. Welcome back to Anthony Scherer of Wyndmere.



Members of our NDAB Family


Char and Rick Feldman have recently lost another family member. Char’s father Edward Jundt of Fargo died on May 11 at the age of 84 at the Veterans Administration Hospital after a short battle with cancer. We extend our deepest sympathy to them on their loss.


Deloris Stenvold fell the beginning of May, hurting her right shoulder. She was taken off of her blood thinner medication in preparation for surgery, resulting in a stroke which affected her left arm and leg. She is now in the Trinity Nursing Home trying to regain her strength. It will be a slow recovery for her. Please remember her in your prayers. If you would like to send her a get well card you can mail it to her at Trinity Homes, Room 243, 305 8th Ave NE, Minot ND 58703. She would love to hear from you!

Former NDAB member Alan David Hagenstein, 63, of Minot, died June 25 in a Minot nursing home. Alan is survived by his siblings, Mary Jo Hagenstein and John Hagenstein, both of Minot, and nephew Abram Hagenstein, of Bismarck.


Another former NDAB member Danene Harkness, 62, of Minot, died July 6 at Trinity Hospital in Minot.




Are You Ready!


The 45th annual NDAB Summer Camp is just a few short days away! If you have sent in your camp application, we will see you at Camp Grassick on August 9th. If you are not able to attend this year, you’ll have to read about it in the fall Promoter.


Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman, Co-Camp Directors



Member News From Around the State


News from Bismarck


Bobby Westermeyer took part in the Sporting Chance Fishing Event in June at Graner Bottoms south of Mandan. He also participated in North Dakota’s annual adaptive water skiing extravaganza – Escape to the Lake – held on June 20 at Nelson Lake Recreation Area near Center. He said that the date for this event next year is June 18. For more information call Leslie at 701-795-6604. Bobby also hit the 300 plateau on June 15 for donating blood. Way to go Bobby!



Fargo News by Shereen Faber


Hello to all members. Well, summer has arrived as it always does. At the time of this writing I am at the lake with my brother and his family from Thailand and we are in the middle of a family reunion. We have the cabin, a bedroom in the boat house which sleeps five and three camper trailers to accommodate all of our company. We have had fluctuating temperatures, but for the most part it has been beautiful.


Ruthie Poer and her friend John went on a Caribbean cruise. This was a bucket list wish of Ruthie’s which finally came true. They sailed out of Cocoa Beach, Florida, from June 14-21 on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas. They went to St. Thomas, St. Martin and Labadee, Haiti, which is Royal Caribbean’s private island. They participated in many of the ship’s wonderful onboard activities. Ruthie was happy to report that during the entire week they did not see one bug or mosquito! Back on land in Florida they continued on to Orlando and took in some of Disney World. They were fortunate to get to EPCOT Center, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Park and Sea World. What fun for Ruthie and John!


Missy Miller went to Houston, Texas, on July 7th to visit one of her best friends, and she was able to celebrate her birthday while she was there. As of this writing Missy has not yet returned so I don’t have further details on all the fun things that she took in.


The musical this summer at Trollwood Amphitheater is Mary Poppins. Those of us using audio description will be going on July 24th. My mom, my oldest granddaughter Aubree, myself, my brother and his wife and eight children will all be in attendance. Weather permitting, it should be great!


Once again camp is coming up soon in August. Sounds like they are having some new classes this year and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun. Elton and I, on the other hand, will probably be taking in the Fargo Blues Fest on August 14-15 as my girlfriend from Austin, Texas, is coming up for the event.


This is all the news to report from Fargo. We will talk to you again in the fall – have a great summer!




News from the Lake Region

Submitted by Carol Schmitt

Our last Vision Support Group meeting was held on May 8, 2015 at the Senior Center. Grace arranged to have Brenda Langerude there to give us a great presentation on safety tips for the visually impaired and for all seniors. There were eight of us attending this meeting. Brenda said she would be happy to come for the September meeting also as she has other areas to tell us about how to live safely with low vision. We will look forward to more tips on using safety with low vision when we meet in September. We will not be meeting during the summer months due to busy schedules.

Grace Sharbono and I attended the NDAB Convention June 12th – 14th in Jamestown. We both agreed it was a great convention with outstanding speakers lined up throughout the convention. We were both very grateful to Greg from the Devils Lake Lion’s Club for the ride to the convention, and to Carmen for the ride home from the convention.

Grace said she is going to be traveling to the Peace Gardens the weekend after the convention with her sister to attend a special ceremony there honoring her sister’s uncle-in-law, Duane Nelson, who was in on the ground floor of starting the Peace Garden music camp. The dedication ceremony will be Saturday, June 20th, following the noon luncheon. They will have a Nelson family reunion in Kenmare later that day. They will go back to Devils Lake and get ready for a family barbeque on Father’s Day at the home farm. Grace’s kids and grandchildren will be honoring her in Fargo on Grace’s 76th birthday on August 4th.

Both Grace and I are also looking forward to attending camp this summer.

I plan on spending time on my brother’s farm near Esmond for a few days in June to visit with all of my siblings and brothers-in-law, along with cousins and friends in the neighborhood. The last weekend in June, my daughter Josie and her husband Brian will be coming for a visit. We will be getting together with Jason, Elaine, and Sydney on Friday evening for a cookout at my place and then we will all go to the farm on Saturday to visit with extended family members.

We wish you all a very lovely summer!

The Lake Region Vision Support Group



Summer 2015 Minot News

By Doug and Mary Stip


Lenny and Wanda plan on attending the Fargo Blues Fest August 14th and 15th.


Doug and I have plans to go to a Vikings game again around our anniversary in September. Again it’ll be the first home game September 20 when they host Detroit at TCF Bank Stadium.


We also hope to sometime attend a movie at our local Carmike Cinemas to check out the new system they have for audio description. If we do we’ll give a report on how it works.

Former NDAB member Danene Harkness died July 6 in the nursing home. She was a twin sister to Cheryl Johnson who was also a member. The following poem, written by Danene, was on her funeral bulletin.




The Road


I walk a road, narrow, straight, uncharted, new.

with myriad, meandering, branching pathways through.

This road I travel every day,

And journey there along life’s highway.

Through twists and bends, wrong turns I take,

Wrong pathways choose, mistakes I make.

As I wander long miles through

I know life’s pain and sorrow, too.

I know life’s suffering and heartache true.

But as I walked these miles through,

I knew life’s lessons were shown me,

I learned, I grew.

Some pathways stretched so smooth I’d run,

carrying within my heart a joyous song.

Life’s joys and happiness were my heartfelt song,

this song I treasured as I marched along.

And as I traveled along this quest,

I paused a moment upon a hilltop crest.

My eyes searched north, east, south, and west.

I saw I’d known life’s worst, life’s best.

And as I take life’s journey through.

I know that I will not go through,

along this road and to its end.

without the love of God, my friend.

And when this journey is finally past,

and I’ve reached road’s end at long, long last,

I know that I will have reached the place that’s best,

for in God’s arms, I will, at long last, rest.



Williston Wanderings Summer 2015

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom


I hope that everyone is enjoying these nice summer days. The days seem to fly by with fall just around the corner.


Carol Scallon and family enjoyed a very special week in June with their former foster son. They have also spent some weekends in their cabin near Garrison. Carol’s daughter will begin her first year of high school when Carol returns to her kindergarten classroom again this fall.


Brenda Bruins attended her niece Kaitlyn’s wedding in Cody, Wyoming, on June 26. She took in all of the festivities on the 4th in her home town of Arnegard with family and friends.


Jean Cote celebrated her birthday the last day of June. She was invited to her daughter’s home for a birthday supper.


Susan Jorgenson’s oldest grandson graduated from Williston High School the end of May. He and another grandson are working at the Upper Missouri Ministries Bible Camp this summer. Susan spent a few days in Choteau, Montana, in June helping out a longtime friend who is dealing with some health issues and may return there at least once again this summer.


Steve Skjei and his dad traveled to Fargo for a family reunion in June. He keeps busy here in Williston during the summer tending his garden. He will be having knee replacement surgery on his other knee this fall.


Sheryl Gerhardt has been at her mother’s house near Topeka, Kansas, since June 20 when she and all of her siblings were called home. Her 90 year old mother’s health is compromised by an aneurism that has precipitated her move to a local nursing home. Sheryl and family are cleaning out her mother’s house getting it ready for an auction this fall. She will not be back in Kentucky for another month which means that she will not be able to attend camp this summer.


Kathy, Stan, Karlyn, Janelle and I along with eleven other family members plus nine other friends just returned from two fabulous weeks in Norway. We viewed beautiful scenery, toured many historical sites and visited many relatives. Now we are in the process of getting back to reality and catching up on mail, e-mail, daily activities and sleep!


Hopefully, we will see many of you at camp!



2015 LePage Award

By Candy Lien


On June 13, 2015, Lion Kathi Runge of the Mandan Dacotah Lions Club was presented with the Robert John LePage Service Award. The award was presented to Lion Kathi during the banquet of the annual state convention of the North Dakota Association of the Blind at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown, ND. This award is presented annually to a North Dakota Lion who exemplifies the type of quiet, unheralded service that Bob LePage gave to people with vision loss in the state. LePage, a long-time member of the Gateway Lions in Fargo, ND, was known in the Fargo area for providing help and service to all who needed it, in particular those with sight loss. In his name this award was established in 2009.


In his nomination letter, Lion Herman Schafer stated that Lion Kathi selflessly served those in her community with sight loss by providing needed transportation for doctor’s appointments, shopping, and the like. She helps the elderly and vision-impaired with their taxes and picks up commodities for them. She cleans up trash in her neighborhood, and also volunteers to collect used eyeglasses at various drop-off points in the area. She is always willing to help out in any way that is needed.


Lion Kathi was presented with a plaque which reads: “With thanks and appreciation for your ‘vision’ and dedication to people with sight loss in North Dakota,”  followed by the motto of the ND Association of the Blind: “Not he who lacks sight, but he who lacks vision , is blind.”


Congratulations to Lion Kathi on this well-deserved award!



The Edwin Christensen Award


It was with honor that the 2015 Edwin Christensen Award was presented to Mark Kueffler at the banquet held at the NDAB Convention in Jamestown at the Gladstone Inn on Saturday, June 13, 2015.


This award is given to an active NDAB member and is primarily based upon their dedicated service to NDAB. Whenever one spends time with Mark, it is quite evident that he loves NDAB and is above all things, an enthusiastic advocate for the visually impaired, whether at work or in our NDAB gatherings. Mark has been an active member for 23 years. He is our current NDAB President, and previously, he has served as a board member of NDAB. When at camp, he jumps right in and helps in whatever capacity he is asked to help, anything from searching out talent show participants, being the MC for the talent show, volunteering for the Big Boys Club, and giving freely of his knowledge and skills in the many different classes he has taught and co-taught. He often approaches problems with calm deliberation. The Ed Christensen Award is just one way in which NDAB would like to thank you Mark for all the ways you have supported and promoted NDAB over the years. Congratulations Mark!


Respectfully Submitted by Carol Schmitt, Chairperson of the Edwin Christensen Award Committee, and Shereen Faber, Committee Member



Vision Statement Contest Results

By Michelle Zentz


One of the first steps in forming a strategic plan for an organization begins with defining a clear and concise vision statement. In other words, this means defining the ultimate goal that NDAB works toward achieving. As the leader of Group II Governance and Communication, I would personally like to thank Alexandra Engraf and Paul Griffin for carrying out this objective for NDAB. They did a wonderful job of providing members with informational articles, carrying out the Vision Statement Contest, as well as building excitement within the membership to find out the results.


Alexandra Engraf announced the contest winners and their submissions were read following the awards banquet Saturday evening June 13, 2015. The chosen cash prize winners are first place Helen Baumgartner $100, second place Zelda Gebhard $75, and third place Allan Peterson $50. The top vision statement submission reads as follows: “Persons with vision loss will live a successful, productive life.” Written By Helen Baumgartner.


On behalf of Ali, Paul and myself, we would like to express our gratitude to all members for their submissions and congratulate Helen for clearly and concisely defining NDAB’s vision!



NDAB Memorials and Donations



Ruth Phalen in memory of Donna Iszler

Ruth Geske gave memorials in memory of Goldie Olson, Elmer Volness, Gen Shoman

Mary Stip in memory of Marion Kyllo

Total Memorials – $125



Total Donations – $125

Total Memorials and Donations:  $250











Many Thanks

By Mary and Doug Stip


Once again, it is time to recognize Minot area businesses and individuals for their support for this year’s wonderful Walk for Vision! Thank you also to our friends, too many to count, who contributed. Because of our great support, we raised $5,200.00!

William G. Carroll American Legion Post 26, Bradley Eyecare, Corridor Investors LLC, Esoterica, First Western Bank, Gate City Bank, Johnson Eyecare PC, Dr. Scott Knutson, Loyal Order of Moose Lodge #822, Magic City Lions Club, Minot Lions Club, Minot Elks Lodge #1089 Charitable Trust, Minot State University Alumni Association, Montana Dakota Utilities, Dr. Shawn Nelson, Prairie Federal Credit Union, Professional Hearing Services, Saunders Chiropractic, Souris River Telephone, Verendrye Electric Cooperative, White Drug, Dr. Darrell Williams and Dr. Chad Wolsky.


Also, thanks to the following businesses who donated door prizes for the NDAB Convention: Cashwise Foods, Cognizant, Conlin’s Furniture, First International Bank and Trust, Gate City Bank, Gourmet Chef, Grizzly’s, Joan’s Hallmark, Scheels, Trinity Health, Visit Minot and Wal Mart,



Candy’s Corner


In this column, I will begin to present the major changes to the literary braille code that will occur with the adoption of Unified English Braille (UEB) on January 4, 2016. For now, the Nemeth code will continue to be used in the United States for mathematics. I think that if we learn about the changes in small doses, that it will be less intimidating for all of us and easier to absorb.


First, nine signs will be eliminated in UEB: the signs for –ation, -ally, dd, com-, ble, to, into, by, and o’clock. The “in” sign will be used in the word “into,” and the “-tion” contraction will be used in words using –ation.


The next big change that will be noticed is that there will be a relaxation of the rule that formally forbade the use of contractions bridging a prefix and a root word, or a root word and a suffix. So, for example, the “of” sign will be allowed in words like “profess,” and the   “ed” sign will be allowed in words like “freedom.” However, contractions will still not be allowed to bridge the two parts of a compound word. Therefore, the “th” sign will still not be allowed in the word “sweetheart,” for example.


In UEB, spacing will follow along with print. That means that the signs for the words and, for, of, the, and with, along with the word “a” will be spaced as in print and not joined. The signs for “to,” “into,” and “by” are no longer used, so we won’t have to be concerned with joining them with the following word.


I’ll let you mull over these changes before presenting some more changes in the next issue of “The Promoter.” You can find out more about UEB from the following web and And that reminds me, the Computer Braille Code will be absorbed into the literary braille code. So there will no longer be a need to learn a separate code and set of rules for brailling web addresses and email addresses.


I think you will find that reading material written in UEB will not be very challenging. Of course, some of the words will seem strange, such as the word “redecorate,” which will now use the “ed” sign, and other words like that, but we will soon get used to these changes and it won’t be long before we will think that reading material in the previous code seems strange!



Fund Raising Report for fiscal 2013 – 2014

Presented to the 2015 NDAB Convention held at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown


Fund raising for NDAB doesn’t ever really stop and it’s never very far away from my thoughts. There are four separate categories that can be traced to our fund raising efforts. I will list them and offer a few comments relative to each area.


First on the list is the solicitation letter that is sent to all of the Lions Clubs in North Dakota – this letter was sent to the clubs last fall. During this past fiscal year of 2014 – 2015, the North Dakota Lions clubs donated a total of $4,425to NDAB. Note: This does not include funds that the clubs donated specifically for our Walk. We had projected an income of $3500 for this category so we did very well thanks to the generosity of the Lions!


The second fund raising income category is a solicitation letter that’s sent to organizations that have gaming licenses in North Dakota. This letter is sent mid to late October. The letter is prepared with supporting materials. This is then sent to members who can help represent the different areas of the state – the letter is sent using their name and address to communicate to the charitable gaming license organizations that we do have a presence in their communities.


Our income from charitable gaming last year totaled $8800 and we had projected an income of $7000. So thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and the generosity of charitable gaming organizations, we were able to significantly over achieve in this category!


A very grateful and appreciative thank you to those NDAB members who did the mailing of the letters requesting donations from the gaming license organizations in their area communities, (in no specific order) those members are: From the Williston area Susan Jorgenson, from the Minot area Mary Stip, from the Bottineau area Helen Arntzen, from the Voltaire area Karlyn Frantsen, from the Devils Lake area Carol Schmitt and Grace Sharbono, from the Grand Forks area Janice Sowokinos, from the Fargo area Rose Landsem, from the Valley City area Paula Anundson, from the Jamestown area Elaine Kelm-Haugen, from the Edgeley area Zelda Gebhard, from the Bismarck-Mandan area Helen Baumgartner, from the Mott-southeast area of ND Bev Austin.


The third fund raising category is our annual Walk, the “Walk for Vision”. As you might guess involves a ton of work and, as you might guess too, there are a lot of people to acknowledge and thank for their commitment and hard work to make this the success that it was.


We had projected an income of $25,300 for this year’s Walk and our optimism was rewarded because we raised a total of $26,467.21 for this year’s 2015 Walk. The breakdown for the Walk by city location in alphabetical order is as follows:

Bismarck $4553.60 – chairs for the Bismarck Walk were Genie Lang and Donna Hepper – and Genie’s daughter Gretchen helped a lot with this effort! I truly do value and greatly appreciate the effort of Genie, Gretchen and Donna for their commitment to make their Walk event in Bismarck such a great success again this year!


The 2015 Fargo Walk total was $13,753.61. My most grateful and appreciative thank you to our Fargo Planning Committee for their help to achieve this goal! Members of the Fargo Planning Committee included members of the NDSU Campus Lions Club, led by its President Peter Crowley; others on the Committee included Sherry Shirek, Missy Miller and my Friend, Lynn Wolff. The big money raisers for the Fargo Walk included Michelle Zentz who collected $1260 and Shereen Faber who collected $500. The biggest organizational donors for the Fargo Walk were Thrivent Financial who gave us $1600 and the Horace Lions Club that gave us $1000 – heady stuff!


The Grand Forks Walk raised a total of $965. Thanks much to Paul Olson and company for this achievement – Paul said that they had a great time with the event- please know that your efforts this year are truly appreciated!


The Walk in Minot raised (drum roll) a total of $5200, a huge THANK YOU once again to Mary Stip for all her very hard work to achieve this level of success! I know too that Mary had a lot of good help from husband, Doug. To be sure Mary I really enjoy your enthusiasm – congratulations for once again for doing an absolutely great job for us!


Paula in Valley City collected $350for the Walk – great job Paula for doing this on your own!


Last but not least, The Walk in Williston raised $1675 for NDAB this year! I’m so thankful to Steve Skjei for his willingness to take this project on together with help from Susan Jorgenson! Way to go Williston Walkers for NDAB!


A special thank you to Sherry Shirek and the NDAB Publicity Committee for their involvement in helping to publicize this year’s Walk!


Finally, the fourth fund raising category are those donations we receive from businesses , corporations and individuals which can’t be attributed to the first 3 categories – this total was $2,837.77.


Income from the 4 above fund raising categories was $42,569.98 – this is 80% of our income from all sources (Note: this calculation doesn’t include our investment income).


Excluding our investment income, total income from all sources was $53,747.34. Income from sources other than fund raising was $11,177.36


So we raised $8414.86more than we spent – again this calculation doesn’t account for any investment income we may have realized.


My sincerest appreciative thank you to Helen Baumgartner for all her help and work to keep all of these accounts in order.


Allan Peterson, NDAB Financial Chair



Amtrak Celebrates 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


Washington – Amtrak is honoring the 25th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law on July 26, 1990. With input from station owners and stakeholders from the disability community, and state and federal officials, America’s Railroad® has taken many significant steps to improve the travel experience for passengers with disabilities – from trip planning, to purchasing tickets, to station access, to on-board services.

“Passengers with disabilities represent a large and growing share of Amtrak ridership and we are proud of our role as an important means of transportation,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We are confident we can build on the progress made to date and advance a robust program of station accessibility improvements in the years to come.”

Since the law was enacted, Amtrak has improved accessibility at many stations, including repairs and upgrades to platforms, ramps and sidewalks, and renovating entrance ways and restrooms. All Amtrak trains have accessible seating and restrooms and long-distance trains have accessible bedrooms.

Amtrak is enhancing mobility by installing passenger information displays (PIDs) in audible and visual formats, installing or rebuilding station entrances, restrooms and ticket counters, as well as ensuring accessible pathways between the parking lot, station building and platform.

Amtrak is the only mode of intercity transportation that provides a discount to passengers with disabilities and their companions.  During the last five fiscal years (FY 2010 – FY 2014), ridership by passengers with disabilities has increased by 50 percent.

Through the remainder of this year, Amtrak will complete accessibility projects at the station in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is served by the Wolverine Service, Prince, West Virginia, which is served by the Cardinal, and locations served by the Empire Builder in Williston, ND, Devils Lake, ND, Stanley, ND, Rugby, ND, Winona, Minnesota, St. Cloud, Minnesota, Red Wing, Minnesota, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Havre, Montana, Glasgow, Montana, and Malta, Montana. Another project includes installing PIDs at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

Boardman said Amtrak is committed to creating a system that is accessible and usable for all passengers, and will continue to work toward that goal, in keeping with the spirit of the ADA.



From Voice of America news: May 18, 2015

Sydney, Australia


A deaf and blind woman from the southern state of Victoria has become the first Australian to make a telephone call using a device that converts a conversation into Braille. It is part of a world-first trial that will test the technology in Australia and the United States.


With a simple phone call between two sisters, communications history has been made in Australia. Michelle Stevens, who is deaf and blind, says the braille telephone will end years of isolation. She’s one of five Australians who are taking part in a new trial that will run in parallel with testing in the United States, where the technology was developed.


Stevens’ vision was damaged when she was born prematurely. Her hearing was lost because of serious ear infections.


She said the device will be of great benefit to her and others.


“This telephone system will be one way to break the isolation of deaf-blindness. Also, too, in time, with it further being developed I think we will be able to give more deaf-blind people opportunities to perhaps enter the workforce. That is a major barrier for employment for people who are deaf-blind is, you know, how are people going to be able to interact in the office on the telephone,” said Stevens.


The phones cost about $2,500. They work by transferring spoken words onto what is called a “dynamic braille display.”


A parallel trial will also take place in the United States in the coming months.


Christopher Engelke, a director with U.S. firm Ultratec, which is running the trial in the United States, said it is an exciting project.


“The way that the whole system works is a deaf, or hard of hearing person, who speaks for themself, would use the phone just like any other phone, except that much like getting subtitles on your TV, you get sub-titles or captions to the conversation appearing on the screen, although for a Braille user they could read those captions in Braille bumps on a dynamic Braille display. So they would listen to as much as they can, speak with their own voice and then read everything that is being said to them by reading the Braille on the phone itself,” explained Engelke.


Developers say the device has the potential to change the lives of those who cannot see or hear. In Australia, it is estimated there are 330,000 people who are deaf and blind. Charities say that figure is likely to exceed 1.2 million by 2050.



What do you know about ND Vision Services/School for the Blind (NDVS/SB)?


Did you know?

NDVS/SB is the only agency/school serving students with visual impairment in the USA that provides solely a combination of outreach and short-term programming (STP).


During STP weeks we teach the “expanded core curriculum.” These are the real-life skills that people need ranging from mobility to technology.


Our six regional coordinators (teachers) provide infant/preschool services as well as consultation in schools across the whole state.


During Teen STP weeks there is an emphasis on helping students become college and career ready.


NDVS/SB is committed to partnering with schools, Vocational Rehabilitation and other agencies to provide meaningful and effective services.


NDVS/SB also provides outreach and center-based training for adults experiencing vision loss.


A full range of assessment/instruction in low vision aids, assistive technology and strategies for coping with vision loss is available.

Referral is just a phone call away.


Visit our website at



Recipe Round Up


Brenda Bruins shares the following recipes she received at her place of work.


Raw Cauliflower Broccoli Salad

5 cups broccoli

5 cups cauliflower

½ cup of sliced radish

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup raisins

½ to ¾ jar of bacon bits



½ cup Miracle Whip

½ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar


Root Beer Float Cake

1 white cake mix

1 ¼ cup root beer

2 eggs

¼ cup Canola oil

Mix & bake according to the directions on cake mix box



½ cup root beer

1 package of Dream Whip



Note from the editor: While reading through some old Promoters I came across the following recipe submitted a long time ago by Doranna Robertson and want to include it again.


Lemon Brownies

1 box Lemon Supreme cake mix

1 4 oz. box lemon Jell-O

½ cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

Mix together all the above ingredients and pour into a greased 9X13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350º for 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

While still warm, poke with a toothpick and pour a mixture of ½ cup lemon juice and 1 cup powdered sugar over the top.

Doranna noted that these are delicious and full of flavor, and best of all easy to make!



The Barefoot Lawyer


During general session at the ACB Conference and Convention in Dallas, Chen Guangcheng, well-known as the blind Chinese dissident, held everyone spellbound as he told his story of advocacy, imprisonment, and escape to freedom from China. He spoke through his interpreter, Danica Mills. He has written a book entitled “The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China.” The book can be found on Amazon, and it is available on BARD.



Rodeo vision: Attendees experience arena event with other senses


For many, watching a sporting event has become a weekend tradition, a reason to go out for a night. But for a group of about 60 patrons at the Mesquite Rodeo on Saturday night, seeing wasn’t an option.


A group from the American Council of the Blind (ACB) Conference in Dallas made the journey to Mesquite to experience their first rodeo. The trip was organized as one of the tours offered to the weeklong conference attendees.


“Last fall we came out and did some scouting as to what Texas has as far as accessible venues. One of the things we wanted to do was Texas rodeo,” said Michael Fulghum, who has been organizing tours for ACB since 2010. “They want to experience things that you and I do but sometimes take for granted; they just want it accessible.”


The ACB’s Dallas chapter helped coordinate the tour with the staff at Mesquite Arena.

“We just basically got with Brother Van [Montgomery] and told him what we wanted to do and he made it happen on his end. We knew we wanted to audio describe it for our folks so they could get the most out of it,” Fulghum said. “By being here they get to see it, experience it, smell it and hear the noise.”


Van, who works with group sales at the arena, said he was contacted by the local chapter in February about arranging the tour.


“I have been here for four seasons and this is the first time I have had a group this large of blind people. We wanted to make sure we take care of their needs and they have a safe time,” he said. “We are family-friendly and we can accommodate any kind of group.”


For the many ACB attendees, the rodeo experience was their first time around horses or the first time they had the chance to feel what a bull looks like, thanks to the photo and mechanical bulls at the arena.


“This experience was offered as one of the tours. I had never been to a rodeo, so thought I’d try it. I have been around horses before at the track and carnivals,” said Martin Kuhn, an ACB attendee from Philadelphia.


The tour was the first time ACB has attempted to do a rodeo as part of its offerings.

“Most of the audio descriptions we do are movies or live plays. It really is the same thing, since you are describing the action that you and I see, and painting that picture in their heads so they can piece it all together,” Fulghum said.


The person painting that picture in Mesquite was Joel Snyder, an audio describer who does contract work for ACB. Snyder has been audio describing since 1981, when audio describing formally originated. He uses a FM radio system to convey his descriptions to those he serves.


“I had always been involved in radio and theater and was involved with reading newspapers and books for blind through Washington Ear, the group began regular audio description service. I was working with them since 1972 and I was one of four or five selected to begin doing it,” Snyder said.


Snyder has audio described all kinds of events including weddings, funerals, plays and sport events but this was his first time to do a rodeo as well. He said the key to making the experience a good one for blind and impaired-vision attendees was to try to sense when the arena announcer was done and insert a phrase or two to enhance their description.


He tries to describe the attire of the cowboys and animals and the rest of the rodeo’s rich visual images.


“I use a technique for making visual verbal by using succinct phrases to describe the images,” he said.



Legislative Report Summer 2015

By Allan Peterson


I well recognize and appreciate that some of our members are not interested in legislative issues and would rather that we not invite legislators to a function at our convention. In response, I would say that to be faithful to our mission and the purposes enumerated in our constitution for which NDAB was established, it is imperative for us to be an organization that is very intentional about our advocacy on behalf of the interests of people with sight loss. I believe it’s also true that by not inviting our elected officials to a meeting at our state convention, we miss a perfect opportunity to educate them about our organization and miss a great opportunity to develop and strengthen our personal relationships with them.


It’s true that we often struggle to get elected officials to come to our convention but, nonetheless, they receive our invitation and, by making the invite, we establish a personal contact with each of them. Even though many legislators could not attend our Lunch this year, most of them responded and express genuine interest in our organization and graciously extended their wish to visit with us about policy concerns that we may want them to address in the future.


I believe that our Lunch with legislators is an opportunity to do some soft advocacy that helps promote NDAB. This is in contrast to the advocacy that we must do during the Legislative Session when the intent is to make an ask of them, which, naturally, is easier if we’ve done a good job with the soft advocacy work in advance of the session.


Our advocacy, to make the “asks” during the recently concluded 64th Legislative Session ended when the Assembly adjourned on April 28. The business of the legislature, however itself, bled into an extra one day session that convened on June 16; the extra day was necessary because at the end of the regular session, the legislature was hopelessly deadlocked over administration of the PERs Board (the PERS acronym stands for Public Employees Retirement System). By law, it was necessary for the PERS issue to be agreed upon by the full legislature by no later than July 1. And yes, after some serious politicking, they reached an agreement so the 64th Legislative Session did finally come to its conclusion as of June 16.


The advocacy that Zelda, Donna and I made on behalf of NDAB of this State Legislative Session was guided by the resolutions that we adopted at our 2014 NDAB State Convention in Fargo. Our testimony and advocacy were specifically directed to support the appropriation bill for the Older Blind Program administrated within the Department of Human Service’s and for the appropriation bill for North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind that’s administrated within the State Department of Public Instruction.


By way of explanation, appropriations and budgets are somewhat synonymous terms. Budgets are authorized by the State Legislature, so that the various departments of state government are authorized to spend the money that’s been appropriated to them for the next biennium. The proposed state budget for the departments of state government is prepared well in advance of the legislative session in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget together with guidance from the governor’s office. It could thus be said the governor proposes and the legislature disposes as it relates to the spending that’s done by state government.


The issue that seemed to dominate every decision regarding appropriations, during the past Legislative Session, was the projected reduction in income that’s generated from the oil extraction tax. In light of this concern, the governor’s budget that was prepared in advance of the Legislative Session, was viewed by the more fiscally conservative legislators as being far too generous.


We can be thankful first that the governor’s budget that was presented to the Legislative Session did contain the increased appropriation for the Older Blind Program and the appropriation for North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind that we were seeking in the 2014 NDAB resolutions that were adopted at our convention in Fargo. We can be thankful too that these two appropriations for blindness related rehabilitation training services were, for all intensive purposes, also approved by this year’s legislature.


So what does this mean? It means that ND Vision Services/School for the Blind,

(1) Has the authority to hire a mobility and orientation teacher for the specific purpose of providing orientation and mobility instruction with the white cane for children and adults who are visually impaired that live in the western communities of our state.

(2) Has the funds to conduct an annual “low vision” clinic to assist K-12 children who have visual impairments.

(3) Has a modest increase in operating funds to help them meet the increased demands to educate and train people of all ages who are blind and have sight loss.


Also, thankfully the appropriation of $100,000 made by the 63rd Legislature for the Older Blind Program was maintained by the recently concluded 64th Legislative Session. This means that the vision specialists employed in the Older Blind Program will continue to have additional funds available that will help provide some needed aids for their clients who aren’t able to purchase this equipment for themselves.


From our perspective, one of the biggest disappointments of the Session was the failure of the legislature to grant a guaranteed state appropriation of $12.5 million to support the operation of North Dakota public transit service providers during this next biennium. The guarantee of $12.5 million to help subsidize public transit services in North Dakota was the figure that the state transit coalition was hoping to secure from this legislative session but the Legislature would only guarantee an appropriation of $9.5 million which will, no doubt, limit the level of public transit service that can be offered in the state during the current biennium.


Collectively, during this legislative session, Zelda Gebhard, Donna Hepper, and I were at the Capitol on 5 of the 78 days of this session to help do the business of testifying and visiting with legislators. Attendance at the Legislature was by no means the extent of our advocacy because we were tracking legislative issues that affect people with disabilities throughout the Session.


Zelda, Donna and I also attended this year’s American Council of the Blind Legislative Seminar that was held on February 23 and 24. The three resolutions that were presented to this year’s NDAB Convention, specifically dealt with the Legislative issues that were presented to us at the seminar. Those resolutions are also included as a part of this edition of the Promoter.



2015 American Council of the Blind (ACB) Legislative Seminar Report

By Allan Peterson


The 2015 American Council of the Blind Legislative Seminar was held again at the Airport Holiday Inn in Arlington, Virginia, on Monday, February 23rd and Tuesday, February 24th. A total of 105 advocates representing approximately 30 of ACB’s state affiliates were in attendance at the Seminar; among them were the three of us representing NDAB: Zelda Gebhard, Donna Hepper and I. FYI, Donna made the trip at her own expense and any expenses I incurred as an ACB Board member were not charged to NDAB.


The ACB Legislative Seminar is one of three leadership meetings that the American Council of the Blind holds at the same site in late February or early March. Because these meetings are held about mid-way between the annual ACB national conventions, they are referred to as mid-year meetings. These meetings are traditionally held in the D.C. area, not far from where the main office of ACB is located. The 3 meetings include an ACB Board meeting, an affiliate presidents meeting, and the Legislative Seminar; the last day of the Legislative Seminar is spent on Capitol Hill to advocate with the law makers for our legislative priorities. For those who attend all 3 meetings, it is a four day commitment of time plus some time allotted for travel.


Although I personally attended all three of ACB’s mid-year meetings this year, information shared in this report will be limited to happenings at this year’s ACB Legislative Seminar. The seminar was noteworthy in that we were on Capitol Hill about six weeks after the new congressional session, the 114th session of the U.S. Congress Had begun its work.


The beginning of a new session of Congress always begins in January when newly elected legislators begin their terms of office; this sequence of events follows the national general elections that are held every two years in November. The new sessions start with a clean slate so to speak, what this means is, that all bills that did not make it through the legislative process during the prior congressional session cannot be considered, unless the bill is again introduced as a bill sometime during the current session of Congress.


With one exception, ACB’s current legislative priorities are the same as those of 2014. The two issues that are “carry overs” from last year were introduced as bills during the 113th session of Congress; however, they failed to get a hearing in the Committee to which they were assigned and therefore died in Committee. The first step to have them considered again during this current session, is to have them be reintroduced in some form to one or both chambers of Congress and that is exactly what we are currently working toward in our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill.


Briefly, The 3 issues that were the topic of this year’s Seminar were:

Issue #1: H.R. 729, the Medicare Demonstration Project of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015. This bill was introduced in the U.S. House shortly after this current session of Congress began its work in January.


This is a policy issue with Medicare, because The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for the management of Medicare, issued a ruling in 2008, that vision aids such as low vision devices that use one or more lens, are excluded from Medicare coverage. Just like ordinary eye glasses


If you were to ask, how will H.R. 729 address this unacceptable policy regarding low vision aids coverage through Medicare? The bill would authorize a nationwide Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of making a permanent change in Medicare coverage to pay for low vision devices. The bill would initiate a five-year demonstration project that would put low vision devices in the hands of some qualified Medicare beneficiaries. The legislation does require that the demonstration project be national in scope and it be explicitly designed to yield reliable data and meaningful results.


Issue #2: This issue was introduced during the last congressional session as the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act.

This is a policy issue because it’s recognized that many students in our nation’s k12 school system who are blind and visually impaired are not receiving the training or tools that are needed to make them competitive with their sighted peers. For better or worse, today most students with visual impairments are mainstreamed in the classroom with their sighted peers.


Some background: Present standards for the education of all children with disabilities were passed into public law through enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1975. It’s true that this law revolutionized educational opportunities for all children and youth with disabilities. However, Educators and leaders in the community of persons with sight loss, recognize that without some key improvements to this law, our national special education system cannot fully keep IDEA’s promise to provide a truly appropriate education for those students who are blind or visually impaired.


It’s noteworthy, that the Cogswell Macy Act is a collaborative effort by leaders from both the blind and deaf communities; thus, the title of H.R. 4040 was named to help acknowledge and honor two individuals; one was a teacher and the other a student. Anne Sullivan Macy was Helen Keller’s beloved teacher and Alice Cogswell was the first deaf girl to be educated in a school for the deaf in the United States.

Issue #3: Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by the U.S. Senate. This Treaty is the outcome of an international diplomatic conference that was conducted under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2013. The terms of this treaty will allow libraries and other organizations that produce accessible format copies of works for distribution to people with print-reading disabilities to share these works across international boundaries. Ultimately this would free up resources that are currently used to make multiple copies of the same work, so that more publications can be put into accessible formats. The Marrakesh Treaty did involve and has received broad support from not only blindness organizations, but publishers and copyright law experts throughout the U.S. and around the world. The Treaty was signed by the United States on October 2nd, 2013.


The day that we spent on Capitol Hill was a very busy one because we again made a total of twelve separate visits that involved all six office buildings on Capitol Hill. Our day on Capitol Hill began at 8 a.m. with a cab ride to the Capitol and ended at 6:30 after our visit to Senator Hoeven’s office. It’s especially noteworthy that Senator Hoeven personally joined us for the meeting that we had in his office


We made visits not only to the offices of our North Dakota congressional delegation but also to those of South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming as well. Those visits were made in part because no one from our neighbor ACB state affiliates was able to attend the seminar.


The rationale for making visits to the neighboring state members of Congress follows the reasoning that legislators in those states are also often very influential in the decision making process on Capitol Hill. Note: We arranged in advance for our visits to those offices with the assistance of the presidents of our neighbor state ACB affiliates.


Again I believe that our investment in attending the seminar is so important to NDAB and ACB in many respects; not only does it give us the opportunity to advocate for our current legislative initiatives, but it is important in the respect that it builds ongoing relationships with our elected leaders and the people who staff their offices in Washington, D.C.


Finally, thank you so much NDAB once again for the privilege of representing your interests at this year’s ACB Legislative Seminar! A huge thank you too to Zelda and Donna for their help to me during this latest adventure to our nation’s Capitol.



NDAB Resolution 2015-01: Blindness Specific Services Utilized for the 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 has a disability or not; and,


Whereas, vision rehabilitation skills training to accommodate for someone to adjust to sight loss needs to be tailored specifically to meet the unique needs of that individual, regardless of age; and,


Whereas, the vision rehabilitation 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 an institution that’s designed to meet their specific vision access information needs; and,


Whereas, although today most children with sight loss are educated together with their sighted peers, 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. (Note: 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 14, 2015 at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown, 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 reintroduce 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 “Alice Cogswell Ann Sullivan Macy Act”. We strongly urge our North Dakota congressional delegation, Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp and Congressman Kramer, to support the introduction and passage of this Act that, when implemented, will do much to advance the education of children that have sight loss in North Dakota and throughout our nation. Note: #1. This bill was introduced during the 113rd congressional session as H.R.4040. Note: #2. Ann Sullivan was Helen Keller’s teacher who was instrumental to the successes that Helen Keller was able to achieve.


(2)If the Ann Sullivan Macy Act isn’t passed as a standalone bill, we would ask that provisions of this bill 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.



NDA Resolution 2015-02: Demonstration Project to Investigate the Feasibility of Coverage for Low Vision Devices for Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries


Whereas, the loss of sight is recognized as a life altering condition that dramatically alters a person’s daily functions; and,


Whereas, the use of low vision devices are vital aids for health, safety, and independent living for persons with significant sight loss; and,


Whereas, the use of low vision devices are vital aids for health, safety, and independent living for persons with significant sight loss; and,


Whereas,, the federal agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that administers the Medicare program, instituted an internal decision in November of 2008 to expand the statutory rule for eyeglass exclusion to include any device that employs a lens that can aid a person’s remaining residual sight (note: the eyeglass exclusion rule categorically denies coverage for prescription eyeglasses); and,


Whereas, the decision to expand the eyeglass exclusion rule, , on the basis that low vision devices are equivalent to ordinary eye glasses, is an unwarranted expanded interpretation of this law; 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, rehabilitation training to deal with sight loss and the use of assistive technology aids allow individuals to live more independently and will reduce the number of people living in institutional care;


Now, Therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind, in Convention assembled at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown, ND, on this Sunday, of June 14, 2015, that we urge Congress to act now to end our national Medicare system’s failure to provide coverage for low vision devices, from simple hand-held aids to more powerful and feature-rich video magnifiers, and

Be it further resolved that we call upon our North Dakota U.S. Congressional delegation (Senators Hoeven & Heitkamp and Congressman Cramer) to support H.R. 729, the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015 which would, through a five-year national demonstration project, evaluate the fiscal impact of providing low vision equipment to Medicare eligible individuals.



NDAB Resolution 2015-03: Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty


Whereas, due to disabilities that are related to reading print, a significant percentage of people in our nation and throughout the world cannot read standard printed material and could access this material, if it were to be produced in an alternative accessible format for them; and,


Whereas, the World Blind Union estimates that only five percent of the books published worldwide each year are accessible to people with print-reading disabilities and, that in less developed parts of the world less than one percent of published works meet this standard for accessibility; and,


Whereas, copyright laws in countries worldwide, including the U.S., allow producers of accessible format books to distribute them only to eligible persons within their own country and these works cannot be exported abroad without risking violations of copyright laws both here in the U.S. and in the exporting country; and,


Whereas, to help facilitate the sharing of accessible published works for People Who Are Blind or Have Other Print Reading Disabilities by sovereign nations, a Treaty known as the Marrakesh Treaty, was adopted at an international diplomatic conference held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2013 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); and,


Whereas, the Marrakesh Treaty has received broad support from not only blindness organizations (including the American Council of the Blind), but publishers and copyright law experts throughout the U.S. and around the world and was signed by the United States on October 2, 2013; and,


Whereas, organizations that produce accessible format copies of works for distribution to people with print-reading disabilities will be able to share those works with each other which will ultimately free up resources that are currently used to make multiple copies of the same work, so that more publications can be put into accessible formats; and,


Whereas, the treaty contains provisions that protect both the rights of copyright holders and those who want to gain access to their copyrighted works;


Now, therefore, be it resolved by the North Dakota Association of the Blind, in Convention assembled at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown, ND, on this Sunday, of June 14, 2015, that we urge members of the U.S. Senate, notably North Dakota Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp, to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty.


Further, we urge senators to adopt a ratification package that is narrow, protects the spirit of the treaty, and does not attempt to use this treaty as a vehicle for addressing extraneous issues of copyright law that could undermine the desired result: increased access to printed materials for people with print-reading disabilities.


NDAB Board meeting May 17, 2015


Board met via phone conference- Members present: Mark Kueffler, Helen Baumgartner, Zelda Gebhard, Allan Peterson, Michelle Zentz, and Sherry Shirek

Absent members: Donna Hepper and Janelle Olson

Meeting convened at 7:06 PM

Agenda: one correction- the date of the next meeting which is June 12, 2015 2:00PM to 4:00 PM and the addition of NDAB Member Handbook update

Allan made motion to approve the agenda with the 2 changes- motion seconded, voted on and approved

Emailing Communications: President Mark made the suggestion to please respond to sender so they know if it was received- respond only to the sender and not reply to all to keep members emails free of excess messages

Strategic Plan updates:

Goal 1: Capacity Building, Zelda

The New Member Orientation Handbook has been renamed to NDAB Member Handbook

Additions to handbook are (A) the names of the lifetime members (B) stipends available for members (C) reference to the book “People of Vision” (D) legislative working group information (E) revisions to scholarship information (F) new member information

Michelle moved to approve the NDAB Member Handbook as outlined by Zelda, motion seconded, voted on and approved

Goal 2- Governance, Michelle

Michelle stated that the updated NDAB Handbook for the Delegate to ACB Convention was sent to Genie Lang.

Update to listing of area support groups has been completed and added to website.

Question rose regarding which month the Family Adjustment Seminar (FAS) will take place. Some discussion on trying to move the FAS closer to the convention so that new members could get involved with the convention and then on to attendance at Camp.

Goal 3- Legislative, Allan

No new updates- Allan has been busy with the legislative session and national business.

Goal 4- Technology, Sherry

Sherry will meet with MSUM on May 18, 2015 to work out more details of the NDAB website.

Old Business:

Convention updates: Zelda

Sound System: The Gladstone has a PA system that will be set up in the vendor room/Banquet room. Mark has asked Rick to set up the NDAB sound system to be used in the meeting room.

50/50 drawing: Mark has checked with Rick Feldman and Rick is willing to set this up.

Lions assistance: Allan has contacted the Jamestown Lions who met on May 6, 15 to see if some would be willing to help at coffee breaks etc. Allan will check back with them for their response.

Vendors: Sherry

Those coming: The Low Vision Store, Stan Mosser’s Vision Store, Dakota Link, ND Vision Services/School for the Blind, Protection and Advocacy, N Dakota Low Vision Aides and Training

Those sending information and items for tables: SD Rehabilitation for the Blind, Independent Living Aides Guiding Eyes for the Blind, Guide Dogs for the Blind. Sherry is awaiting responses from Leader Dogs for the Blind and Seeing Eye. Maxi Aids is sending registration bags with items in them.

Legislative: Allan – 6 district representatives have been invited as well as the federal representatives- 28 invitations sent out.

Convention awareness: Zelda has done the following so far: article in the NDVS/SB newsletter, “Reaching Out”; flyers to the Jamestown V.R. office to be shared with vision services clients; letters, flyers and brochures to 15 optometric offices in the region; flyers and bulletin information to the 25 churches in Jamestown and flyers sent to NDAB members in Jamestown for them to share with individuals or use as posters. Zelda will send PSA’s to area radio stations and articles to newspapers next week.

Convention Registrations received: 25 as of 5-17-15.

Conference Calls:

Board has been looking at options for handling calls for the board and committees.

Allan suggested looking into the system that ACB uses for its conference calls where a number in New Jersey is called – requires the user to have a phone carrier with free long distance.

The frequency of the calls needs to be a consideration. If there is money in the committee budget, those dollars could be used to pay for the conference calls, with approval of the president.

Michelle has researched some conference call options and will look into others and get back to board with appropriate wording.

New Business:

NDAB credit card for conference call charges:

This needs to be presented to the convention body. It would require changes to the By-Laws so the By-Laws committee would work on wording if convention approves.

Delinquent Members:

Board Policy needs to be revised from the Aug, 3, 2014 meeting. New policy now states:

No dues are to be collected during application. First year- dues are paid by NDAB. Revised periodic dates when Treasurer pays ACB dues during year. Need to change the hard copy and online applications to reflect changes and added lines to make form more efficient. Allan moved to approve the language in the resolution as revised by executive committee motion seconded, voted on and approved.

Membership Applications:

Since new applicants are not paying first year dues, the new applications are going to the Membership Chair now and not the Treasurer.

Two new applications- Brant and Tonya Adams. Allan moved to approve the two new applicants, motion seconded, voted on and approved.

Announcements: Next Board meeting- Preconvention on site- Gladstone Inn Jamestown- June 12, 2:00PM-4:00PM.

Allan made a motion to adjourn- seconded and meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Dianne Giessinger, NDAB secretary-

Pre-Convention Board Meeting June 12, 2015

Gladstone Inn, Jamestown, ND


President Mark Kueffler called the meeting to order at 2:00 PM. Members present: Zelda Gebhard, Janelle Olson, Donna Hepper, Sherry Shirek, Helen Baumgartner, Michelle Zentz, Allan Peterson and Dianne Giessinger.

There were also four guests Loris Van Berkom, Jesse Shirek, Paula Anundson and Rick Feldman.

Welcome: Mark Kueffler

Mark welcomed all and presented the Board with party horns to set the mood for a fun-filled productive convention.

Camp Report: Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman

Loris gave an update of this year’s camp. The camp dates are Aug. 9-16, 2015. The theme this year is “Back to the 50’s”. Loris will be sending out the packets soon and they are to be returned to Rick Feldman. Loris read the names of all of the classes that will be offered. Janelle moved to accept the classes for camp as read. Motion seconded and passed.

Nominating Committee: Paula Anundson

Paula gave the names of those running for the ACB delegate to the 2016Convention as Loris Van Berkom and Mike Hoeppner. Carol Schmitt is running for the open Board position and Kathy Larson is seeking another term as editor of the Promoter.

Secretary’s Report: Dianne Giessinger

The Executive Board meeting minutes of 5-17-15 meeting were approved through email on 5-25-15. A sympathy card was sent to Duane Preabt and Cheryl Misialek to express the Board’s sympathy for the loss of Donna Isler Preabt.

Treasure’s Report: Helen Baumgartner

Helen gave the financial reports of the American Century Investments, CD, checking account and the scholarship account totals. The report is placed on file.

Copies of the financial statements as reviewed and prepared by Stromsodt, CPA were given to each board member. The full report is placed on file.

Financial Chair Report: Allan Peterson

Allan reported that it has been a good year for fund raising, which represents 80% of our income. A complete report will be given to the convention body on Saturday

The report is placed on file.

Family Adjustment Seminar: Janelle Olson

Janelle is looking at possibilities and more information will be presented during the convention.

Legislative Report: Allan Peterson

Allan will present a full report on June 13, 2015 to the convention.

Membership Report: Zelda Gebhard

We have a new member, David Pahl. David is attending this convention and is interested in going to camp.

Participation Incentive Program: Zelda Gebhard

This program has been running for three years but participation has decreased over each successive year. The few that have participated have done an amazing job; however, with a trend of declining interest, Zelda moved we discontinue the program and move on to other things. Motion seconded, voted on and passed.

Public Relations: Sherry Shirek

Sherry has a full report prepared for the convention body on Saturday.

Old Business:

2015 Convention Updates: Zelda

The last person to sign up was on Thursday.

Materials in Braille: Helen reminded the Board of the memorandum of understanding of mutual cooperation between NDAB, VR and NDVS/SB.

NDVS/SB is the most economical option for the production of Braille and they provide a quick turn-around of electronic materials.

Conference Call Wording: Michelle Zentz is still working on this project.


New Business:


Sherry and Jesse are working on the new website design and the media arts student intern has advised to change some wording as the word “he” they stated is gender biased. Discussion occurred. The goal is to be sensitive to the history of the organization while still keeping focused on staying current, to be inclusive of individuals of all ages, and to try to keep the message of the motto as close as possible to the original.

Janelle moved to replace the word “he” to “they”, and “is” to “are”. The motto would then read: Not they who lack sight, but they who lack vision are blind. It was moved that the board recommend a do pass. It was seconded and passed.

Photo Releases: Sherry Shirek

Sherry has releases prepared. Discussion occurred. Having photos of individuals on the website is desirable. Discuss photo release with specific individuals to obtain their consent. If an individual’s photo is chosen, they would sign a release before it would go on the website.

New Historian:

Ali Engraf has volunteered to be the new historian as Denise Kirsch is resigning from this position. Please send photos of NDAB activities to Ali to continue the ongoing history of our organization.

Logo: Sherry & Jesse Shirek

Jesse brought examples of logos that the website designer has created. Jesse gave a good verbal description of each. The goal would be to have association of NDAB when seeing logo. Discussion occurred. It was suggested that a Steering Committee be created to work with Sherry and Jesse. Sherry stated, all will have to act quickly while the web designer is available to us as this is a time limited opportunity. President Mark replied that this will be brought before the convention body for discussion and comments.


The position of NDAB Secretary will be open after this convention, as the current secretary is resigning due to family illness.

Allan has ACB Braille Forum raffle tickets available for purchase.

The next Board meeting is June 14, 2015 at 12:30 P.M.


Michelle Zentz made a motion to adjourn the meeting; the motion was seconded and approved. Meeting adjourned at 4:00 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Dianne Giessinger, NDAB Secretary



NDAB 79th Annual Convention

June 13, 2015


The convention was opened at approximately 8:30 A.M. The Opening Ceremony included a presentation of colors by the Jamestown American Legion.

Zelda Gebhard opened with a prayer.

Jamestown’s Mrs. Jamestown, Christine Jorissen welcomed NDAB to the city.

Zelda welcomed all to Jamestown where NDAB was formed 79 years ago. We are excited about the future with appreciation of our past.

President Mark Kueffler thanked Paula Anundson and Zelda Gebhard co-chair convention planners, the board, vendors and all for their efforts for good conventions; as well as the entire member for coming.

President Mark called the business meeting to order at 8:50 A.M. He reminded all that throughout the convention we are to be mindful of respect to all during our proceedings.

Jesse Shirek and Kathryn Schmidt are our sergeant arms. The microphone runners are Steven Gebhard and Paula Anundson.

President Mark introduced our Parliamentarian Laurie McHenry.

Roll Call of Membership: Paula Anundson and Steve Gebhard

The microphone was passed to each member in attendance to state their name and city of their home.


The agenda was read by Laurie McHenry. Allan Peterson motioned to approve the agenda, a second to the motion. The agenda was voted on and approved.

Standing Rules:

The rules were read by Parliamentarian, Laurie McHenry.

Report by President Mark:

President Mark gave an overall update of how the organization is doing. He thanked those involved with on-going business and programs of the organization.

Secretary Report: Dianne Giessinger

The minutes from the pre-convention board meeting June 12, 2015 were read as well as the minutes from May 17, 2015 board meeting.

The minutes from the Pre convention meeting were corrected as the suggestion of the wording for the NDAB motto were not correct. The corrected wording is not they who lack sight, but they who lack vision are blind.

Janelle Olson made a motion to approve the corrected wording as suggested for the Pre convention board meeting, motion seconded, voted on and motion approved.

Minutes from both meetings are on file

President Mark thanked Janelle her for her work on this.

Treasurer’s Report: Helen Baumgartner

Helen gave an updated financial report on the CD Mutual Fund at American Century, and the checking account. An update was given on the money market account which is used for the Emma Skogen scholarship.

Helen reported once this money market account is used up for the Emma Skogen scholarship it will be closed. Helen was thanked for her work.

Editor’s Report: Loris Van Berkom

Loris gave the report on behalf of Kathy Larson. Braille copies = 4, print needing postage = 11, print sending free matter = 18, digital = 22, E-mail = 75, none = 33

Report is on file.

Mark reminded us that Jamestown is the home of Louis L’Amour and as he wrote of pioneers in his western stories, so is Kathy Larson for her pioneering work of our first NDAB website. Kathy was given special recognition for all her hard work and providing us with the exciting website.

Camp Report: Loris Van Berkom

Camp is scheduled for August 9 – 16, 2015. There are six new cabins that were built this year. Missy Miller has announced the banquet theme “Back to the 50s”.

The New Campers Orientation Class title has been changed to New Campers 101.

Loris gave the list of all the 2015 classes. Many of the old standard classes will be available. There will be some new classes added this year which will be listed in the camp application.

Loris and Rick thanked everyone for all the work on camp.

Report on file

Family Adjustment Seminar: Janelle Olson

Janelle explained to new members what the Family Adjustment Seminar was all about. Open to people with visual impairment, and family members. Many aspect of vision loss are covered to both the visually impaired individual and their family members in attendance.

The weekend event was all paid by NDAB. In the passed there were 2 events held in the state for ease of attendance- one in Bismarck and one in Minot.

Great attendance in past many who attended became NDAB members.

The last years the event was held, the attendance was down in spite of phone calls to individuals.

The last two years have not had a seminar.

There has been suggestions that if a future event were held in the town where the convention will be held, the attendees could attend the convention also and possibly consideration of coming to Camp.

Janelle suggested that the event would be somewhat different than the past but still reach out to the new individual with vision loss and their family.

Janelle’s report is on file.

Financial Chair Report: Allan Peterson

Allan gave report on the Lions Clubs, Charitable gambling, businesses and other income sources. These represent 80% of our total income.

He gave the Walk-A-Thon totals for each city. He gave special recognition to each city’s chair. Mary Stip- Minot, Valley City- Paula Anundson, Williston- Steve Skjei, Bismarck- Donna Hepper, Eugenia Lang, and Gretchen Lane. Grand Forks- Paul Olson and NDVS/SB staff, Fargo- NDSU Campus Lions Club, Sherry Shirek, Missy Miller and Lynn Wolff.

Allan’s complete report is on file.

Break- Door Prize Drawings- Recognition to those who collected the great door prizes.

Business Meeting resumed at 10:55 AM

Legislative Report: Allan Peterson

Three bills were followed closely: One for North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind and one for the Older Blind Program through the Department of Human Services. They also followed the bill on public transportation.

The dollars requested for NDVS/SB and the Older Blind Program bills were granted while the bill for Public Transportation was reduced three    million dollars- 9.5 million was obtained.

Complete report on file

NDA was represented at the ND Disabilities consortium in Bismarck in Oct, 2014. Members attending were Michelle Zentz, Donna Hepper and Zelda Gebhard. This training was to give the attendees the experience to other disabilities and their issues.

Presentation by Dr. Cheryl Godley, “Adapting Emotionally to Sight Loss”

Dr. Godley was introduced by Allan Peterson

Legislative Luncheon

Business Meeting Resumed at approximately 1:30 PM

Membership Report: Zelda Gebhard

Zelda gave a complete report of the total members and their visual

Status, new members, and members who have died.

Complete report is on file

Nominating Committee: Paula Anundson

Paula gave the names of members who are running for positions

New board member, Promoter Editor and announced that the secretary’s position is open to finish the one year of her term.

Allan Peterson, Zelda Gebhard and Donna Hepper went to Capitol Hill in DC.

They took three resolutions for attention.

  1. Demonstration Project to investigate feasibility of coverage for low vision devices for qualified Medicare beneficiaries
  2. Blindness specific services for the education of children with sight loss
  3. Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty- alternative accessible format for print material to be published —-Complete copies of these resolutions are on file

Public Relations Report: Sherry Shirek

Sherry and Jesse awarded the Fargo citizen of the year

The Shirek’s have been working on educating the public regarding public transportation for visually impaired individuals; such as driver announces stops and don’t pet guide dogs.

They had actual video taken of Sherry and Jesse traveling on the bus that will be used for evaluating / educating what to do and not do for visually impaired persons traveling on public transportation.

Worked on having NDAB public relations materials available at public events booths – one for eastern and one western part of the state

Sherry attended Community leader’s conference as well as other community events for NDAB representation

NDAB was represented with a table at the annual AER conference in Grand Forks

NDAB will have a State Fair booth.

Sherry will be going to the optometric conference in October 2015.

Ski for Light: Jesse Shirek encouraged attendance. It’s a large event where many states are represented (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Canada to name a few)

Strategic Planning Report: Michelle Zentz & Zelda Gebhard

The Strategic Plan was started in October 2013 and approved April 13, 2014. The full report with details is on file.

Allan Peterson, Zelda Gebhard, and Michelle Zentz attended a mock legislative event in October 2014 to train persons with disabilities, and provide education on the legislative process.

Technology Strategic Goal: Sherry & Jessie took Mark Kueffler’s place for this goal

The goal is to focus on development of the new website; Reached out to Minnesota State University at Moorhead. A MSUM student was enlisted to help in a project to develop website with accessibility for persons with visual impairment.

The website will be easy to maintain.

The website will be using content management system. This is great for changes needed for low vision or those blind individuals using screen readers.

Door Prize Drawing / Coffee Break / More Door Prize Drawing

Historian Report: Denise Kirsch (unable to attend)

Denise is resigning from the position due to health concerns. Denise reminded everyone to submit pictures so that history of events can be kept for posterity. Denise was thanked for her service. Ali Engraf will be taking this position.

Old Business

Resolutions were read by parliamentarian Laurie McHenry.

Resolution 1

Regarding delinquent members’ dues, first time members

Several members asked for clarification of the resolution. Michelle Zentz asked to clarify when to start paying dues, and when first time members pay dues.

Clarification was asked for when the Treasurer would pay the ACB dues for these new members.

There was discussion: resulted in clarification that dues for first timers are free for the current year and the following calendar year dues would be paid (January 1 is due pay by March 15).

Zelda Gebhard moved to add current to calendar year to resolution- motion to approve amendment to wording of delinquent member’s resolution.

Resolution 2

Scholarship Award Resolution: proposal of changes to criteria of student applicants who apply for scholarship awards.

Loris Van Berkom moved to add the word current to calendar year, in the same place in the resolution, motion seconded voted on and approved

Questions to clarify that scholarship will be paid to recipient by the Treasurer when the recipient sends the Treasurer proof of entering school. Loris Van Berkom moved to accept the resolution with current added to the resolution. Motion seconded, Voted on and passed.

Presentation by Cheryl Godly.

Banquet and Program.

Business Meeting Sunday, June 14, 2015

The meeting was called to order at 9:12 A.M. A roll call of member present was taken; 27 members present

Old Business

Parliamentarian read the dispute resolution policy to the convention body. Resolution is on file

New Business

Honorary Membership – Zelda Gebhard read from the constitution, the section and criteria to bestow an honorary member.

At the November 23, 2014 Board Meeting – the Board felt that Terry Nelson, Low Vision Store, was a candidate; at the meeting, it was determined that a nominee must be brought before the convention body.

There was a reading of Terry Nelson’s good works on behalf of visually impaired individuals.

Zelda moved we present Terry Nelson as the honorary member; the motion was seconded, voted on, and passed.

Zelda commented that at next year’s convention he would be conferred with this honor.

Website Update – Sherry Shirek

It was recommended by MSU-Moorhead to review our motto as they felt the word “they” would be friendlier to all.

Looked at who wrote the motto since it was in quotation marks- it is unclear who wrote the motto

Discussion on wording

Loris moved that the motto be changed to _not they who lack sight, but they who lack vision, are blind. The motion was seconded.

Voting on the motto of switching the motto ‘he’ to ‘they’ and ‘is’ to ‘are’. Vote taken on this change and vote passed.


A logo was presented at the pre-convention board meeting. Discussion started considering creating a Steering Committee to look at options the designer has created and help decide on design.

Sherry reminded convention body that the decision is time sensitive because this is a student summer project. If we want to get this free from MNS-Moorhead a decision must be made within next 2 weeks or so.

Loris Van Berkom asked for a description of the various versions of logos. The descriptions were given by Jesse Shirek.

Sherry asked for volunteers for the Steering Committee. Their work would need to be accomplished in the next two weeks, as the designer wants to build a website around the logo.

Sherry moved to create a Steering Committee to work on a recommendation concerning the logo, motion seconded, a vote was taken and passed. The following volunteered for the committee: Missy Miller, Kathryn Schmidt, Jesse Shirek, and possibly Doug Stip.

NDAB Credit Card

Rick Feldman talked about how the Treasurer should have access to a credit card.

Rick- If NDAB would get a credit card there would have to be an amendment to the By Laws.

The Parliamentarian read the information on what’s needed to amend the By Laws.

There was discussion. Helen confirmed she has a NDAB DEBIT card already. The card has a $2,000 limit per day. This debit card account number can be used for NDAB conference call expenses so would not need a credit card.

Authorization on account use has Helen Baumgartner, Treasurer, as the primary user. The alternate user is Donna Hepper.

Proposed amendment to Election of Officers made by Allan Peterson.

The Parliamentarian read the proposed amendment to Article IV regarding criteria for officers

Allan moved to consider an amendment to the constitution to include candidates in the border cities be allowed to run. Motioned seconded.

There was a discussion. Vote was taken by standing count. Yes Votes – 18, out of 27. Motion was passed.

Thus, this will then be brought up at next year’s convention. A committee was formed to work on the constitution change; members will be Allan Peterson, Michelle Zentz, Zelda Gebhard, and Todd Fahlstrom.

Amendment on file

Resolutions – Allan Peterson

The following legislative issues were brought to Capitol Hill during the ACB Legislative Forum

The Parliamentarian read each resolution

Resolution NDAB 2015-01 Blindness Specific Services Utilization of Children with Sight Loss – AFB & ACB are supporting this bill, The bill will be introduced as HR4040 as Anne Sullivan Macy Act, if bill does not pass will ask to be incorporated into the IDEA when considered for a reauthorization.

Loris Van Berkom made motion to approve resolution 2015 – 01. Motion seconded, voted on and passed

Resolution on file

Resolution NDAB Resolution 2015-02- Demonstration Project to investigate the feasibility of coverage for low vision devices for qualified Medicare Beneficiaries

Resolution was read by Parliamentarian

Note: to expand the Medicare exclusion rule for eye glasses, to include anything with a lens.

This resolution would be HR729. Zelda Gebhard moved to adopt this resolution, motion seconded, a vote was taken, and the motion passed. Resolution on file

Resolution – NDAB 2015-03 Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty;

Resolution read by Parliamentarian

This resolution regards any materials that are published in print be in accessible formats for visually impaired persons.

Supported by ACB. It needs to be voted on by the United States Senate

Janelle moved to accept this resolution as read, motion seconded, a vote was taken and the resolution passed.

Resolution on file

Approve NDAB Budget

Helen read the proposed budget with line item dollars. The total proposed budget is $51,700.

Janelle pointed out that no dollars are in the budget for the Family Adjustment Seminar.

Janelle suggested adding the dollar amount to the proposed budget, which was used for the previously held seminar. Janelle recommended adding $3,500 to the proposed budget for the Family Adjustment Seminar.

Discussion was held on dollar line items. Scholarships have $300 added to this line item.

Note by Treasurer, Helen Baumgartner, that the Emma Skogen Scholarship is separate fund from the general scholarship fund.

Website expenses are included under office expenses and services.

Michelle Zentz moved to approve the proposed budget; motion seconded, voted on and passed.

Next Year’s Convention – Loris Van Berkom

Loris welcomed us to next year’s convention scheduled to be in Williston.

The Home Place is a new hotel they have chosen as the convention site. Suites are one and two bedroom; costing $115 and $160 per night. The two bedroom suites could hold four people. Meeting rooms are no charge. There is a restaurant, with breakfast provided at no cost.

Next year’s convention will be on the second weekend in June in Williston.

As a Point of Information – “convention site selection” this section of the constitution was read by the Parliamentarian.

This information stated that the Executive Board does not plan the convention. The location must be selected by the convention body, or appointed by the Executive Board.

Options for Site Selection & Convention Planning were read by the Parliamentarian. Michelle Zentz made a motion to discuss each option one by one, motion seconded, voted on and passed.

Parliamentarian read each option below:

–       Option 1 was read: continue follow common practice, the person presenting host city acts as chairperson of convention planning committee– asked for discussion on option 1, no discussion.

–       Option 2 was read: The president is to appoint one of the three elected directors of the board to serve as convention planner with all the related duties. — asked for discussion on option 2, there was no discussion.

–       Option 3 was read- the convention planner will be elected from the membership through a nomination and election process every 3 years with no term limit. — asked for discussion, there was no discussion.

Michelle asked for a stand up vote on each option:

Option 1: 13 in favor— Option 2: 8 in favor— Option 3: 2 in favor

Discussion on how to proceed. A comment made that is why these options were presented as lack of volunteers. So, appointments are allowed.


Kathy Larson for Editor- called for nominations from the floor, none made Moved nominations ceased. Vote taken and Kathy is the Editor.

Delegates to ACB Convention

Mike Hoeppner and Loris Van Berkom are the candidates.

Called for nominations from the floor. Paula Anundson was nominated, but she declined. It was determined that the second in the vote-count will be the alternate.

Written vote taken. Loris Van Berkom won the vote for delegate and Mike Hoeppner alternate delegate.

Delegate to the Board – Carol Schmitt is candidate— took nominations from the floor. Rick Feldman nominated Jesse Shirek. Each gave a brief speech

Written vote taken – Carol Schmitt won the vote.

President Mark thanked all board members, and gave special recognition to Donna Hepper for her hard dedicated work on the Board as her term is complete after this convention.

Paul Anundson asked for anyone interested in running for office to contact her as many positions are up for election at the next convention. Her name and phone number will be in The Promoter.

The Secretary’s position was resigned by Dianne Giessinger. There were no volunteers. Parliamentarian reported that the Executive Board can appoint a Secretary to fill the one more year for this position.

Announcements were made. Post-convention meeting to start in half and hour

The 79th Annual NDAB Convention meeting adjourned at 12:13 P.M.

Minutes Respectfully submitted by,

Dianne L. Giessinger, Secretary



Post-Convention Board Meeting


The board met on site at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown, ND.

The meeting was called to order at 12:45 PM. Present board members included: Mark Kueffler, Janelle Olson, Sherry Shirek, Helen Baumgartner, Michelle Zentz, Allan Peterson, Carol Schmitt and Dianne Giessinger.

The agenda was read and approved.

Respect & Communication

This will be an ongoing theme in the coming year.

Code of Conduct

Mark passed out forms for each board member to sign. They were all signed at this meeting and the forms will be retained with the Secretary materials. These forms were placed in the Secretary briefcase that was taken to Fargo by the Feldman’s on June 14, 2015.

ACB Convention Stipend – requests made by Todd Fahlstrom, Michelle Zentz, Allan Peterson, and Donna Hepper.

Todd asked for a stipend even though had fully paid stipend from ACB (?) But, asked for extra expense reimbursement so he could attend grant writing and technology devices sessions.

Janelle moved we accept the requests from all four applicants for stipends. Motion seconded, voted on and passed.

Membership Applications

Applicants are for Deb Johnsen, James Johnson and Vince Ulstad and Marilyn Garrett Helen moved we approve applicants as new members, seconded, voted on and passed

Delegate to ACB Convention

Eugenia Lang. Any other members of the NDAB contingent could vote if Eugenia is unable to serve or attend when voting occurs.

ACB Nominating Committee

Donna Hepper has volunteered.

Sherry Shirek asked, at the National Convention, how does NDAB delegation decide for whom to vote?

There was discussion. We trust that the delegate we send will vote in the best interest for the needs of the North Dakota affiliate.

Number of chairs our NDAB affiliate will need for representation are seven. We need no wheelchair spaces

Secretary’s Position Replacement

Janelle talked with Jesse Shirek – he said he would do the job.

Evelyn Hildebrand was suggested– President Mark will talk with her.

We need to find a new secretary before the next board meeting.

Discussion –on whether the board should meet or not at Camp, if decide to meet, it would need to be a short meeting, as time is limited at Camp

Convention Site for 2017

President Mark asked for someone to look for a couple of cities.

Sherry Shirek will check Grand Forks as a 2017 site.

If a site looks good, according to convention guidelines, a bid can be put out to get hotel committed for wanted dates.

Convention Guidelines

Guidelines are still being worked on, so Zelda will get them to Sherry so she has these as she investigates the Grand Forks possibility.

Announcements: None.

The next Board Meeting is scheduled for September 20, 2015 at 6:30 P.M.

There was a motion to adjourn, motion seconded and vote to adjourn. The 2015 Post Convention meeting for the NDAB adjourned at 1:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted by Dianne Giessinger, Secretary.



United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA)

You don’t have to see it, to tee it!



It’s true. Blind and visually impaired individuals can participate AND compete in the worldwide game of golf. How? The coach provides the eyes to determine distance and direction and the blind or visually impaired golfer produces the swing. Their motto is “you don’t have to see it to tee it,” but you can believe it. The USBGA was formed in 1953 and since then it has improved the lives of blind and visually impaired golfers by rekindling their competitive spirit and breaking down barriers to a fulfilling life.


USBGA membership is open to golfers having corrected vision in both eyes of less than 20/200. There are three vision categories, less than 20/200 to total blindness.


The USBGA sponsors and conducts golf clinics for blind or visually impaired youth and adults throughout the year and across the United States. These clinics are not just for producing future golfers, but to show them that they can accomplish things they never believed possible and then to apply that principle to enrich their lives. Ron Plath, B-3 golfer, says, “If you ever see a blind youngster whack that little white ball down the fairway with a great big roundhouse swing you will find yourself smiling on the inside forever after.”


To learn more about USBGA, visit their website at



Support Groups Near You


Bismarck: The Meet ‘N Eat Group gathers the third Monday of the month at various restaurants in the Bismarck-Mandan area at 6:30 p.m.

Contact LaVonne Tank 224-8306 or Richard Thadness 222-2274.


Devils Lake: The Lake Region Vision Group meets the second Monday of the month (September-May) at the Senior Center, 202 4th Ave. N.W. from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Contact Carol Schmitt 662-3363 or Grace Sharbono 662-8482 for details.


Dickinson: The Low Vision Support Group meets the last Wednesday of the month at Evergreen Assisted Living, 2143 6th Avenue West from 12:30-1:30 p.m. The Low Vision Support Group meets the second Thursday of the month at Hawk’s Point, 1266 Signal Butte from 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Contact Kristina Brown 227-7613 or 888-227-7525 for details.


Fargo: The Insight Support Group meets the second Saturday of the month (September-May) at the New Horizon Manor, 2525 North Broadway from 2:00 -3:30 p.m.

Contact Allan Peterson 282-4644 or 231-6040 for details.

The Moorhead-Fargo Visions Support Group meets the second Wednesday of the month at various locations from 12:30-2:30 p.m. for lunch and to schedule community activities.

Contact Todd Fahlstrom (218) 443-1499 for details.

The Braille Support Group meets alternating Fridays, September through May at the New Horizon Manor, 2525 North Broadway from 2:00-3:30p.m.

Contact Candy Lien 232-5936 or 800-421-1181 for details.

The Gateway Lions Bowling for the Blind is held September-May at the NDSU Memorial Union, 1401 Administration Ave.

Contact Roger Stein 232-3757 for exact times and ride arrangements.


Grand Forks: The Vision Loss Support Group for Seniors meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Greater Grand Forks Senior Center, 620 4th Ave S. from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

Contact Tracy Wicken 795-2720 or 800-421-1181 for details.


Hettinger: The Vision Support Group meets the third Thursday of the month at the Hettinger Senior Citizen Center, 204 4th St S. from 12:30- 1:30 p.m.

Contact Kristina Brown 227-7613 or 888-227-7525 for details.


Jamestown: The Vision Support Group meets the third Monday of the month at The James River Community Center, 502 10th Ave. S.E. beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Contact Jim Drew 253-6352 or 800-639-6292 for details.


Newtown: The Newtown Visually Impaired Group meets the first Monday of the month at the Evadene Gillette Social Services Bldg., 404 Frontage Road from 1:00 -3:00 p.m. Lunch will be served.

Contact Darice Clark 701-627-7925 for details.


Williston: The Low Vision Support Group meets the second Saturday of the month at the banquet room of Gramma Sharon’s Family Restaurant 1501 16th St W Contact Loris Van Berkom 774-3399 for details.

When Suffering Visits

Reprinted with permission by Steve Goodier

We are changed, sometimes in unexpected ways, by the problems of life.

One of Canada’s most famous physicians was Dr. William Osler. Many stories are told of this beloved doctor, but one of the most revealing comes from World War I.

Friends recalled the day when Osler was working in one of Britain’s military hospitals during the war. He was called out of the wards during his daily rounds to be given an important message; his own son had been killed on the fields of France.

Stunned by the news, he still came back to pick up his rounds. For a long period afterward he was noticeably different. And those who knew him best said that he changed as a physician that day. The cheerful note was gone from his voice and never again did friends hear the tune which he so often whistled as he went from ward to ward.

Though these things never returned, something eventually came to take their place. Everyone noticed a new compassion in his care of the soldiers who each day streamed in from the battlefield. Before, he had the professional concern of the physician, so important to the practice of medicine; now there was an added discernible note of a personal compassion, like that of a father for his son….

Like most people who have experienced such losses, Osler must have spent considerable time in grief. But as he healed and integrated the loss into his life, it left him a different person.

Pain will do that. It changes us, often in unexpected ways. It can leave us angry and broken, or, as in the case of Osler, it can bring forth qualities such as compassion or tenderness. It is as if the physician channeled his pain into energy and love for others, caring for them as he would care for his own child.

Helen Keller, who found a way to thrive though she went through life both sightless and deaf, knew plenty about suffering. She wisely said, “The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Yes, the world is full of suffering. We can’t avoid it no matter how hard we try. But it is also full of examples of people, like you and me, getting through it. Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts. And once the pain subsides, the gifts remain.

These gifts are life’s true treasures, bought at great price, but cannot be acquired in any other way.













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


Char Feldman, 3301 Bohnet Blvd, Fargo ND 58103 #235-3293


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:

Carol Schmitt, 200 14th Ave NE, Devils Lake ND 58301 #854-7395

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

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

Financial Chairperson:

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

Legislative Liaison Chairpersons:

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

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

Co-Camp Directors:

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

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

Family Adjustment Seminar Chairperson:

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

Sports and Recreation Chairperson:

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

Scholarship Committee Chairperson:

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


Alexandra Engraf, 2501 Villa Dr. S, Apt. #104, Fargo ND 58103 #206-1028

Publicity Chairperson:

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

Local News Reporters:

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

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

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

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

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

Promoter Editor:

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


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


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

To learn more about NDAB visit us online at

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