The Promoter – August 2019

Table of Contents

From the President
From the Editor
Welcome to NDAB
Members of Our NDAB Family
Memorials and Donations
Just Talking
The 2019 Edwin Christensen Award Recipient
2019 Robert John LePage Service Award
Legislative Report, summer 2019
Support Groups Near You

From the President

Hello everyone,

It’s finally nice and warm and everything is green and growing. I hope all is going well for you and that you are enjoying your summer.

My sincere appreciation to the convention host committee from Minot. They did a great job of making us feel welcome and assuring we had an enjoyable time while we were together for the 2019 NDAB Convention in June. Thank you to all of you who traveled to Minot to attend the convention. We couldn’t do it without each of you.

A sincere thank you to Robert Hart for serving us well as a board director for the past three years. He will certainly be missed. Welcome to our new director, Mickey Teubner. The convention body elected Rebecca Anderson as treasurer, Allan Peterson as development director and Gretchen Campbell as secretary. All three have been serving on the board and we appreciate their continued commitment. Kathy Larson did not seek reelection as editor. As she steps down, we thank her for her many years of dedicated service as our editor. Congratulations to Lexee Steffan who was elected to replace Kathy as editor. Cole Roberts was selected to be the delegate to the 2020 ACB Convention with Gretchen serving as the alternate. On behalf of the organization, I thank all of you for your willingness to share your time and talents with NDAB by serving in your respective roles.

It takes a lot of cooperation and teamwork to make sure everything gets done and things run smoothly at convention. For those who helped in any way, I sincerely thank you for your efforts.

Please note the following announcements. May the rest of your summer be filled with fun and excitement.

Zelda Gebhard
NDAB President

Just Talking: August 20, September 17, October 15 and November 14
NDAB Summer Camp: August 4-11
Next Board Meeting: September 9th at 6:30 PM

From the Editor

I was excited and grateful to be elected as Promoter editor at Convention in June and am looking forward to this new adventure. I have enjoyed putting my first issue as editor together and wanted to thank all those who have sent in articles. You all made my transition to editor go so smoothly! I also wanted to thank those of you who have called or texted me to see how this first issue is going. It warms my heart to know that I belong to an organization with such caring members! If anyone has questions about articles or would like to submit an article, please feel free to email me at or call me at (701)260-8914. I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer and I will see many of you at camp.

Lexee Steffan
Promoter Editor

Welcome to NDAB

NDAB welcomes the following members:
Carrie Golden of Pisek, ND and Gary Pedersen of Grandin, ND.

Members of Our NDAB Family

We extend sympathy to Tracy Wicken on the death of her sister. Kristie “Kris” R. Hughes, age 60 of Grafton, ND passed away Saturday, June 15, 2019 at her home.
Kristie Roxann Wagner was born December 30, 1958 in Grand Forks, the daughter of Irene (Seidler) Wagner and the late Melvin Wagner. She was raised in Grand Forks and graduated from Red River High School. She attended the University of North Dakota and graduated with a degree in Speech Pathology.
In 1991, Kris met Lynn Hughes and their great love began. Kris and Lynn spent the last 28 years raising children, making memories, and enjoying the adventure of life. Along the way Kris worked at the St. Thomas Café, the Hoople Café, managed a convenience store, and worked for Life Skills and Transition Center. Kris loved her family. Spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren was her favorite past time.
Kris is survived by her husband Lynn, three children, three grandchildren, her mother, and her sister. She was preceded in death by her father.

Memorials and Donations

APRIL 2019
Memorials & Donations Total $1421.00
Sophie Kuntz
From daughter Barb Booth for a camper
Bremer Bank Minot for picnic/convention
ACB MMS Donation
Donation from Thrivent
Thrivent Choice from Allan Peterson
Donations from Lions
Braddock Lions
Beulah Lions
Donations from Charitable Gaming
American Legion Ellendale
AmVets Post #7 Fargo
Amerian Legion L Dethman Armstrong Post 194 Rolette
Joseph Weller Post 39 Velva

MAY 2019
Donations Total $725.00
Memorials NA
Impact Foundation
Dakota Medical Foundation
Donations from Charitable Gaming
American Legion Park River

JUNE 2019
Memorials & Donations Total $3200.87
Sophie Kuntz
From David Kuntz
Cleo Mae Gonser-Moseng
From David Corbett
Clara Hauck
Tracy & David Dachs
Irish Auction (Thank you, Dawn Fremont for organizing)
Minot Convention & Visitors Bureau
Tracy Wicken organized GF Texas Road House event
Rick Vannett
Rodney Miller Designated for Williston Walkathon
Donations from Lions
Mandan Lions
Red River Lions

Donations from Charitable Gaming
Schwandt Goodman Post 9050 Enderlin
Steele AmVets Post 20

Just Talking

We have been doing “Just Talking” calls for over a year. It has been fun to share information and learn more about each other. We have covered a wide variety of topics. If you haven’t yet joined one of our teleconference calls, you may want to give it a try. It’s easy to do! Just dial 515-604-9797, access code 824825#. Remember, this is not a toll-free number.
The monthly calls are on the third Tuesday from 7 to 8 PM. If you have something you would like to talk about, please call 701-493-2399 to suggest a topic for a future call.
Scheduled dates and topics are:
August 20 – We’re Grilling – are you the grill master at your house? What’s the best grilled food you have ever eaten? Call in and get inspired to throw something on the fire. We’ll meet in the backyard.
September 17 – The NDAB delegation will share information about their trip to the 2019 ACB Conference and Convention in Rochester, New York. Call in and hear all about it!
October 15 – Our first Recreation Retreat is over. Join members of the Sports and Recreation Committee as they review the weekend. Come ready to share your suggestions and ideas for this event and other possible activities or events.
November 19 – What have you been doing? We all have 24 hours each day. Dial in and share with others your favorite ways to spend your time.
Pick up your phone, dial in and let’s get talking!


By Doug Stip

The following were presented awards at the 83rd annual NDAB Convention Banquet held at the Sleep Inn and Suites in Minot on June 8.
$2,000 NDAB Scholarship: Ethin Probst, Minot, ND
Friend of NDAB Award: Amy Osvold, NDVS/SB, Minot, ND.
Robert John LePage Award: William Wieland, Edgeley, ND
Advocate of the Year: Mary Lou Stip, Minot, ND
NDAB Lifetime Memberships: Helen Baumgartner, Mandan, ND, Shereen Faber, Fargo, ND, Richard Feldman, Fargo, ND.
Ed Christensen Award: Milissa Miller, Fargo, ND

The 2019 Edwin Christensen Award Recipient:

It was with honor that the 2019 Edwin Christensen Award was presented to Milissa Miller at the NDAB convention banquet held on Saturday, June 8, at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Minot, ND. This award is given to an active NDAB member and is primarily based upon their dedicated service to NDAB over the years.

Missy has been an NDAB member for 13 years. She has dedicated four years serving as the NDAB Vice President and has also been on the nominating committee. She also took on responsibilities involving committee’s that have helped to make the NDAB brochure, stationery, Thank You Cards, and the NDAB promotional table covering.
Missy was also the chair person in the planning of a state convention held in Fargo. She has been on the NDAB walkathon committee for several years and has been involved with an NDAB fund raiser by participating and organizing a silent auction event at the community theater.
Most recently, she has been a valuable participant in the NDAB Giving Hearts Day, using leadership skills in helping to pull it all together. She has been referred to as “the cowgirl” who takes the bull by the horns! For about seven years, she has been a helper or instructor for different classes at camp such as the walking class, The Arts and Crafts class, the nutrition Class and the 10 healthy steps to healthy living class. She has also volunteered to help plan a camp banquet, showing much imagination and talent.
There is no clowning around with Missy as she has been an exuberant clown in the marching band at camp for quite a few years.
The Edwin Christensen Award is one way in which NDAB can express our thanks.
Thank you Missy for all the dedication and effort you have put into serving NDAB over the past 13 years!

Respectfully Submitted,
The Edwin Christensen Award committee,
Carol Schmitt, Shereen Faber, and Kathy Johnson

2019 Robert John LePage Service Award

Every year NDAB awards a Lion’s Club member in the state of North Dakota the Robert John LePage Service Award. This Service Award was named after the late Robert John "Bob" LePage, a long-time member of the Gateway Lions of Fargo, who passed away suddenly on September 9, 2008. LePage devoted over two decades of his life to serving the unmet needs of the blind and visually impaired in eastern North Dakota. In gratitude to his years of service, the North Dakota Association of the Blind has instituted this award and named it after Bob, who received our first service award in June of 2008. Each year since then, the award has been presented to a service-minded ND Lions member.

We had several very qualified applicants and it was a difficult task to select a winner. This year’s recipient of the Robert John LePage award is William (Bill) Wieland of the Edgeley Lions Club and was presented the award at the NDAB 2019 Convention. Bill has been a member of the Edgeley Lion’s for forty seven, yes I said, forty seven years. Wow! You may remember Bill; he was the “Voice of NDAB” through the reading and recording of the NDAB Promoter for five years. Bill spent many hours reading our newsletter and during this time got to know the NDAB organization well. In 2015, Bill was also one of the volunteers assisting NDAB convention goers in getting to their meeting rooms and welcomed us to our convention.

Bruce Fredenburg, president of Edgeley Lions Club states “Wieland has held every office in our club, except secretary and treasurer. He has served as chairman of many fundraising and service events in our community thus enabling us to be supportive of people in need.” Since then Bill has been an advocate for NDAB making sure the Edgeley Lions make an annual donation to provide financial support and has provided transportation to those in the community with vision loss. For over 10 years, Bill has promoted the Lions Eyeglass project in the Edgeley community. He oversees the collection, cleans the glasses and packs them up so they will safely reach the state collection site.”

Congratulations Bill & Thank You for all you do.

Mark Kueffler
Robert John LePage Service Award Chairman

Legislative Report, summer 2019

By: Allan Peterson & Zelda Gebhard

A very appreciative thank you to our members who joined us for the legislative lunch held at our NDAB Convention Saturday June 8 in Minot. We are thankful to the four guests who joined us – two state legislators and two legislative spokespersons. The two local legislators from the Minot area were State Senator Karen Krebsbach and State Representative Bob Paulson plus Kaitlyn Weidert from the office of U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer and Darrell Nitschke from the office of U.S. Congressman Kelly Armstrong.

It was very encouraging to hear the letter that Kaitlyn Weidert, the spokesperson from Senator Cramer’s office, read at our lunch. The letter acknowledged and detailed the priorities that we had addressed with his office staff when we met in the Senator’s office on Capitol Hill in connection with the 2019 ACB Legislative Seminar on February 26. It was gratifying to know that our advocacy message and priorities were indeed heard.

At the lunch, we encouraged our guests to share with us if they have had a family member or friend who had been affected by sight loss. The testimony that really caught my attention in this regard was that Representative Paulson’s son has chloridemia, a genetic eye condition. He made the comment that the impact that this condition may have on his son’s vision is uncertain and that NDAB could well be a very important contact for his son to make in the future.

The 66th Session of the North Dakota Legislature adjourned at 10 PM on April 26, the 76 day of the Session. Constitutionally the session is mandated to be in session no more than a maximum of 80 days. Our advocacy work during the Session focused on the appropriation bills for North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind (NDVS/SB), the Older Blind Program within North Dakota Vocational Rehabilitation and the appropriation for public transit services within the State Department of Transportation.

The budget appropriation process begins well before the legislative session convenes. The various units of government submit their biennial budget requests using the guidelines that are set forth by the Governor’s office in conjunction with the Department of Operations Management and Budget (OMB). Prior to the beginning of the legislative session, the Governor sends his budget for operating state government to the legislature. This is the budget that the ND House of Representatives and the State Senate Appropriations Committees will mull over, conduct hearings on, and modify as they see fit. State Senator Krebsbach, has served on the ND Senate Appropriations for a number of the past State Legislative Sessions. It was gratifying that she emphasized that we who represent NDAB are doing a good job in our work to advocate for the cause of blindness rehabilitation services!

Bills that originate in either the House or the Senate are sent to the opposite chamber at crossover which happens about midway through the 4-month legislative session. What this really means is that advocates need to testify at hearings on the same bill at least twice during the session.

During this past Legislative Session, the appropriations bills for North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind and the Older Blind Program began their deliberations in the Senate Appropriations Committee and after cross-over were heard by the House Appropriations Committee. A classmate from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine volunteered to be my chauffeur when I testified at these two appropriations hearings. The testimony itself went quite well but the unfortunate part was that both times that we went we had to deal with fairly bad winter weather. On the last trip we sometimes were driving through what were almost white out, blizzard conditions.

What results can we claim? Paul Olson, NDVS/SB Superintendent, is satisfied with the appropriation that they received from the Legislature. In short, they got what they had asked for in the budget that was originally sent to the Legislature. Some of their funding that had been cut during the last biennium was restored.

Some of the funding for the Older Blind Program that was cut during the last biennium also was restored. As a consequence, one of the vision rehabilitation specialist positions for the Older Blind Program in the Dickinson office that had been cut will be restored.

State funding for transit services is generated through gas taxes and motor vehicle registration fees and the amount of state money for transit is based on the collection of those resources. The Legislature chose not to add any additional funding for transit services during this Session.

Three resolutions based upon this year’s ACB legislative priorities were submitted for consideration by our 2019 NDAB Convention. Those resolutions appear in the convention minutes. A report on the 2019 ACB Legislative Seminar can be found in the last issue of the Promoter.

Support Groups Near You

The Eat and Meet Group gather the third Wednesday of the month at various restaurants in the Bismarck-Mandan area at 6:30 PM.
Contact Mickey Teubner at (701) 204-2582 or

The Insight Support Group meets the second Saturday of the month (Sept. -June) at the Northport Branch Library, 2714 Broadway from 10:30 AM until noon. Join us for coffee and cookies!
Contact Allan Peterson 282-4644 or

The FM Vision Group meets the second Wednesday of the month for lunch from 12:30-2:30 PM. at the Fry’n Pan on Main Avenue in Fargo. Join our email list! Contact Cheryl Cassman 701-866-3535 or Nara Murphy 701-306-6920

Grand Forks:
The Vision Loss Support Group for Seniors meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Greater Grand Forks Senior Service Center at 20 4th Ave S from 1:00-3:00 PM. Contact Tracy Wicken 795-2720 or

The Vision Support Group meets the second Tuesday of the month at 1:00 PM in the cafeteria at The James River Senior Center 419 5th St NE.
Contact Amy Volk at (701) 328-8954 for more information.

The Low Vision Support Group meets the first Monday of the month at 11:00 for a no-host luncheon in the banquet room of Gramma Sharon’s Restaurant, 1501 16th St W. Stop by and join us!
Contact Loris Van Berkom 774-3399, or

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