The Promoter – August 2020

Table of Contents

From the President

Hello NDAB Members,

I hope this finds you well and enjoying your summer.  I will keep this letter brief as I know this issue of the Promoter is overflowing with content.  I refer you to my annual President’s Report which can be found in the 2019-2020 Annual Report section.  It contains reports usually presented at our annual State NDAB Convention. 

In addition to that, however, I have some exciting news! The final event of the virtual 2020 ACB Convention was held last night.  During the banquet it was announced that NDAB had won the membership award for the affiliate with the most, new members for the past year!  Our gratitude to Mary Lou Stip, former Vice- President, and membership chair.  During her time as our membership chair she sought this award and worked hard to achieve it.  You did it, Mary! Congratulations!  This proves that when we set goals, we have a better chance of achieving them if we don’t tire or give up.  

I spent the past eight days “attending” the ACB convention.  It was fantastic!  I hope you also were in attendance.  If not, you can listen to the many podcasts that were created from the content in general sessions, workshops, tours, and events.  Go to http://acbradio.org/acb-convention

Please stay safe and continue to stay connected. 
Respectfully yours,
Zelda Gebhard

From the Editor

Hello NDAB,

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer and that you are able to spend time with family and friends enjoying some summer fun despite the cancelation of many annual summer events this year. Thank you to all those who sent in articles for The Promoter. Your hard work in writing up articles and sending them to me by the deadline is much appreciated. Although I will miss seeing many of you at our annual summer camp, I hope to see those of you who can make it to the Sports and Recreation Retreat in the fall. Until then, take care and stay healthy.

Sincerely,
Lexee Steffan, Promoter Editor

NDAB Welcomes New Members

NDAB welcomes the following new members:

C. J. and Carol Johnson from Moorhead, MN; Lilly Mankie from East Grand Forks, MN; and Elias Youngbloom from Fargo, ND.

Members of Our NDAB Family

NDAB member Clifford Phelps passed away on April 20th, 2020 at age 73. We extend our sympathy to Pat Phelps and to the rest of the Phelps family.

NDAB member James Johnson of Edgley, ND passed away on June 14th, 2020 at age 89. We offer our condolences to his family.

Lifetime NDAB Member Elaine Kelm of Jamestown also passed away on June 14th, 2020. She was 84 years old. We extend our deepest sympathy to her husband Gene Haugen and their family.

We extend our sympathy to Beatrice and Irvin Krogen on the death of Irvin’s brother, Ardeen Krogen.

We also offer our condolences to the family of former NDAB board director and member Mavis Anderson who passed away on January 6th, 2020.

Former NDAB member Marie Weixel of Bismarck passed away on June 6th, 2020 at age 84. We send sympathy to her family.

Announcement

If you would like to be on the NDAB membership committee, please contact Ali Engraf at vice-president@ndab.org.

Just Talking

Do you like talking?  To learn more about each other, technology, or our world, we have been getting together by phone on the third Tuesday of each month.  Now, we will be using Zoom.  You can join in the conversation too!  Look for instructions below. 

Future topics include:                                         

August 18 – Let’s plan for the future.  The future of NDAB that is.  Call in and share your ideas.  What would you like the organization to focus on next? Your viewpoint is important.   

September 22 – What do you know about Hadley?  Hadley has a long history of teaching people with vision loss.  Call in and hear Marc Arneson as he tells about Hadley rediscovered after nearly 100 years.   

October 20 – Is your clinic a Caring Clinic?  We will talk about things you can share with your health care provider and their staff.  Let’s help them understand us and our needs as patients with vision loss.  When they’re comfortable with us, we’ll all have a more positive clinic visit.  

November 17 – Hate to clean, but love a clean house?  Be sure to join us as we share some cleaning and organization tips so you can get your place ready for that holiday gathering. 

To suggest a topic, dial 701-493-2399.   

Let’s keep talking!

Letter from NDVS/SB

Greetings from Grand Forks, ND. My name is Sky Gabel and I am a clinical psychology doctoral student from the University of North Dakota. I work at North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind part-time and work with many students attending the programs here, learning coping skills, increasing emotional awareness, and addressing challenges people face when experiencing visual impairment. In addition, I am available for individual sessions for those who may need a little extra emotional support.

We are living in unprecedented times, between COVID-19 and pushes for social justice, many people are experiencing increased stress and changes in their lives. Everyone reacts differently from stress, but there are many ways to help cope and face these challenges head on. However, before I get into ways to cope, it is important to note that these fears are normal. Your feelings are valid and those feelings should be recognized. That being said, sometimes we have emotions that impact our lives negatively and cause problems.

Bring your attention to how you are feeling throughout the day. Are their times or things that improve your mood or make it worse? With news stories bombarding us daily, it may be helpful to limit social media or news casts to once a day. Does going outside in the (FINALLY) warm weather calm you? Maybe calling a friend while enjoying time outside would be relaxing.

It is important to balance both physical and mental health as they are intertwined. Getting fresh air, exercise, good sleep, and having a healthy diet can improve your mental health just as much as your physical health.

If you are feeling more intense negative feelings, it’s helpful to reach out. Maybe that is to your family, friends, or spiritual leader. Maybe it is towards services such as NDVS/SB and myself for times to meet and discuss some of the difficulties you are facing. If you would like to get in contact with myself, you are more than welcome to call NDVS/SB at 701-795-2704 to set up an appointment or learn more about what we offer! Stay safe, healthy, and take some time for yourself. We all need to.

Reflections

Submitted by Kathy Larson

The date was October 16, 2014, and as Promoter Editor, I had been in contact throughout the prior months with Sue Hammer-Schneider at the North Dakota State Library concerning the possibility of getting our Promoter digitalized. Sue was the gal in charge of these types of projects at the library, and she called saying that this was to be a reality for us for the 2015 February Promoter. I said, “Hurrah!”

Sue is soon to begin a new chapter in her life. It was a joy working with her during my years as editor, and we wish her the best!

The following article appeared in the North Dakota State Library Talking Books Discovery magazine, Spring 2020. Sue has given permission to reprint it in our newsletter.  

Farewell from Sue Hammer-Schneider 

2020 has been a year of unprecedented change for people all over the world, and my life is changing as well. After 14 years in the Talking Book department, I will retire on June 30th. During my tenure, I’ve had the privilege to experience a number of exciting technological advances. Talking Book machines have morphed from cassette players to digital players. Staff can now put more than one book on a cartridge, and patrons can also download books to their smart devices. Each new step has been enjoyable and rewarding, but I am looking forward to pursuing many other interests more freely. 

I want to travel more with my husband, spend more time with our grandchildren, work in my garden, read more, and take more time to be with family and friends. I will miss being a part of the Talking Book Program. I love this service, and I believe it’s a kind of ministry, too. I work with an amazing staff that has made coming to the office each day a lot of fun. I will also miss talking to the patrons and working with the volunteers. I want to thank everyone for the last 14 years. I will never forget the people I had the opportunity to meet while working with this program. So, like Bob Hope always said, “Thanks for the memories.” Stay safe and healthy!

NDAB Summer Camp 2020

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom

The summer of 2020 will be long remembered! Not because we had such a wonderful time at camp, but because we were all home thinking about what we would have been doing the week of August 9-16. The new sidewalks and sewer system were all completed just waiting for campers to try them out. I had a lot of extra time to work on camp plans which include a lot of computer and paperwork. I suppose that is because all summer activities were canceled leaving me wishing for a project. 

We can all dream of attending camp next summer but it won’t be the same because someone will be missing. Our beloved Camp Grassick Director, Dan, is retiring after 40 years as the director and seven years before that as a counselor. He will be moving to Valley City at the end of summer if his plans for housing work out. His assistant for the last several years, Jenny, will be the new director. I’m sure she will do a great job but we will all miss Dan. We wish Dan a happy and restful retirement and Jenny a successful adventure as the new director!

No Camp This Year

By Janelle F. Olson

Often during the relaxation time of the weekly yoga class I have attended for over twelve years, the instructor asks us as we lay on our mats with our eyes closed and in the darkened room, to think of a very special place where we then are directed to go, to experience its sights and sounds and to be present, and relax in the moment. I never have to wonder where I will go, as when my eyes close, I am automatically transported to my bed in cabin #12 at Elk’s Camp Grassick where I have plopped down and am resting comfortably after the last class period of the day.

I hear the oscillating fan quietly humming as it pushes air back and forth around the room and over me, cooling my skin. I hear the distant splashing and laughter of campers reveling in Lake Isabel. I jump when I hear a high-pitched scream right outside of the open window above my head. Some unsuspecting soul has just gotten hit with a shot of cold water from the rinse-off hose. I smile. My skin radiates from the heat of the day. My legs feel tired, but in a good way, from many trips up and down the hill since reveille and the 7 a.m. ringing bell. I smell the combination of the signature, musty, cabin air and the lingering mix of this morning’s flavored coffee which was shared with my cabin mates over the noise of blow dryers and the talk of plans for the day. In August, this is the place where I live for one week out of the year, and share an experience with my NDAB family.

We each have events throughout our lives which change us: a wedding, the birth of a child, a job, loss of a dream or loved one, an education or move, to mention a few. For me, being a camper here for one week out of the year ranks right up toward the top of my list in the “life changing” category.

Our son was three years old when I first attended NDAB Summer Camp. He is now 34, and during the years I have only missed one camping session.

As I write this, my entire being is flooded with thirty years of the sights, sounds and voices of camp. I hear the gentle flapping of the flag as it is raised to start each day. I hear sandy footsteps and people with their canes crisscrossing the campus, scooting to get to their next class. I hear bursts of uproarious laughter springing up from somewhere in the distance, and think about just how many times in one day this happens. Outside the rec hall, I hear the whiz of an arrow and then the “thunk” as it hits the target. Cheers erupt. I hear oldies music coming from the basket weaving class, music from the camp band as the Friday parade marches up the hill, and the sweet chirping of birds overhead welcoming every morning’s sunrise and each one of us to another unfolding day at camp.

The air is filled with the smells of last night’s thunderstorm, fresh bread from the baking class in cabin 13, fragrant trees outside the nurse’s station that always remind me of the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the anticipated, scrumptious meals as we wait outside the mess hall, finally being invited in by the ringing bell and greeted by the door holders.

In this one week out of each year, we learn, we make, we play. We are taken on travels around North Dakota and the world; we make sense of the strings on a ukulele, and keys on a computer keyboard. We learn Spanish, yoga and chair exercise. We toss darts, dance and swim. The number and variety of classes that have been offered over the past 49 years are staggering. When Sunday morning comes, we take with us new skills, new crafts, new-found courage, and new friendships.

At the end of that first week of camp, so many years ago, in addition to a white cane that had been placed in my hand by the mobility instructor, I took with me a caned stool, a lopsided crocheted potholder, and a suitcase full of very wet clothes which had been on the receiving end of bursts of water just seemingly showing up out of nowhere throughout the week. I also took with me something I had not expected to find…myself. As strange as it may sound, it took this place and the dear people of that week to crack open the door of the room in which I safely kept the truth about being visually impaired, letting the light in and the secret out. It appeared I was the last person to know. 

As I write this, my entire being is also flooded with grief, grief for this beloved camping week of 2020 which will not be. The camp bell, that beckons us from sleep and welcomes us to meals, has been stolen and silenced by a world pandemic, something right out of an unimaginable, B rated science fiction movie. I know that the sadness I feel is shared by many: my fellow NDAB campers, the children and adults who have their camp weeks prior to ours, the cooks, kitchen and maintenance staff, and Dan Mimnaugh, Elks Camp Grassick Director and our beloved friend who had plans for just one more summer of early mornings and late nights before he began his well-earned retirement. “No fair,” I scream red faced, at the top of my lungs into the vast beyond!

When I retired the end of October, one of the wall hangings that I took home from my office was a framed poster. On it, with letters covering from top to bottom, is the brightly, decorated word…HOPE. It was made by Jesse Shirek for the 2011 banquet. Our theme that year was Easter. For the past few months, placing this poster outside on our front porch each morning has been the first order of business for me. In this topsy-turvy time of unwanted change and uncertainty, the physical act of placing “HOPE” outside for all to see continues to be my deep, daily conviction for better days ahead.

What we each have been given at camp can never be taken away by a horrid virus. While we will not physically be together this August, which was to be the celebration of our 50th camping year, we can be together in the remembering. These camp memories belong to each of us, and they are alive and as numerous as the number of campers who have attended over the years.

For now, I will close my eyes, hold hope close to my heart, and stand in the fading light of yet one more spectacular Lake Isabel sunset. Here I will stay until once again, under the morning blue sky, we stand shoulder to shoulder around the flagpole, singing our camp song.

Sports and Recreation Retreat Announcement

The Sports and Recreation committee, like nearly all other aspects of NDAB, has been relatively inactive throughout this period of social isolation. This year has allowed for the committee to plan and then cancel a spring recreation event in Minot, but also allowed us to look at new things we would like to do in order to promote competitive and leisure sports for the blind across North Dakota. We look forward to continuing to plan and implement new and exciting events in the upcoming year.

Catcher’s Mask, Goalie Mask, Halloween Mask, yes I have them all! Now, I have an N95 mask. All of these protect us and all might make staying safe at a sports and recreation retreat possible.

With that said, we would like to announce that we will be holding our 2nd Annual sports and recreation retreat at Wesley Acres retreat center near Dazey, ND. The retreat will be held the weekend of Friday September 18th thru Sunday September 20th. The event will include leisure activities like hiking, yard games and hopefully camp fire(s). We will also participate in blind sports like beep baseball, as well as zip lining and lake activities weather permitting.

Our committee respects that there may be concerns about social distancing and safety surrounding COVID-19. Wesley Acres is currently following state and CDC guidelines. Currently, they operate at 75% capacity, as well as practicing proper hygiene and social distancing practices. We have and will continue to be in communication with their staff In the event that anything changes with CDC and state guidelines or if we need to adjust activities and or cancel the event. In the unexpected event it is canceled, Wesley acres will hold our deposit for any future events at their facility.

Similar to last year’s event, if you are a blind participant, the cost of the retreat will be covered. If you would like to bring a friend or family member to the event, NDAB will pay for half of their retreat fees. We are still working with Wesley Acres to finalize the fees for the events. Participants need to be at least 14 years of age. The registration deadline will be September 1st.

To register or if you have any questions about the event please contact

Trampes Brown, Lexee Steffan

We look forward to a great event and seeing you all very soon

Trampes Brown, Sports and recreation committee Chairperson

Walk for Vision 2020

NDAB invites and encourages your participation as we make plans for our 22nd annual “Walk for Vision” on Thursday, October 15.

Historically, this is the date that has been designated as White Cane Safety Day. It was on October 6, 1964, in recognition of the white cane and all that it symbolizes, that through joint resolution of Congress, it authorized the President to designate October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day.”

Last year, both Governor Doug Burgum and Fargo Tim Mahoney issued proclamations to designate October 15 as White Cane Safety Day. The intent is to make similar appeals to public officials to issue proclamations for this year’s Walk. Plans for how this year’s Walk is to be conducted is indefinite given the public health concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

All proceeds from the walk will go towards funding the service programs that NDAB offers to people with vision loss.

For more details on how you can help, call Allan Peterson

Mom’s Rhubarb Cake

Submitted by Carol Schmitt

Bake in a 9 by 13 inch pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees

½ cups shortening

1 ½ cups sugar

½ tsp salt

1 egg

1 tsp soda

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups and 1 TBSP flour

Three cups rhubarb, cut fine

Red food coloring (optional)

Topping:

1/3 to ½ cups sugar

One tsp cinnamon

1/3 cups chopped nuts

Directions: Cream the shortening and sugar; beat egg and add;

Combine dry ingredients and set aside; add buttermilk to sugar mixture, mix this into dry ingredients; add rhubarb last. Pour into greased cake pan, then sprinkle sugar/cinnamon topping over top before baking for 45 minutes.

Macaroni Salad Recipe

Submitted by Carol Schmitt

Macaroni Salad, with shrimp, tuna, crab, chicken, etc. (3 oz. can)

One cup salad dressing

One cup sour cream

8 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) of French dressing

½ cup sweet pickle relish (8 Tablespoons)

Mix above all together, then mix in

1/3 cup onion minced

One cup minced celery

Mix well, then add cooked macaroni, shells, etc. (5 cups raw macaroni cooked)

Then add 16 OZ. shredded cheddar cheese and then add three cans of meat (3 OZ. each)

Chill and eat!

Memorials and Donations

Submitted by Rebecca Anderson

April 2020 Donations Total $1,180.00

GHD Donations $375.00

Dakota Medical Foundation 

Impact Foundation 

Donations $255.00

Anonymous

Walmart on Behalf of Gretchen Campbell

Charitable Gaming $550.00

Bismarck Elks 

Dickinson St Anthony Charity 

May 2020   Donations Total $430.00

GHD Donations $180.00

Lions Clubs $250.00

         Mandan Lions

June 2020 Donations Total $399.14

Donations $399.14

         George Heyer

         Rodney Miller

         Minot Community Foundation

2019-2020 President’s Report

This was a good but unusual year.  At our 2019 State Convention in Minot, we welcomed Mickey Teubner to the board as a new director and Lexee Steffan as our new editor.  Returning to the board were Rebecca Anderson as Treasurer, Gretchen Campbell as Secretary and Allan Peterson as Development Director.  A session introduced DIAL NDAB to the membership with an overview and instructions on how to utilize it.  Thanks to the team who continues to add content to the voice mail system.    

The Sports and Recreation Committee hosted our first Recreation Retreat which was held at Wesley Acres Camp and Retreat Center near Dazey the weekend of October 4-6.  The 12 who attended had a great time doing fun activities and enjoying each other’s company. 

We had our Walk for Vision and observed White Cane Safety Day on October 15th.  Articles were sent to all ND newspapers announcing the proclamations signed by the Fargo Mayor and Governor Burgum declaring October 15th as White Cane Safety Day. 

There was an NDAB presence at two fall conferences.  Larry Skwarok represented NDAB at the state Lions Convention held in Dickinson and Allan Peterson attended the ND Optometric Conference in Fargo. 

October was Pharmacist Month and 272 letters were sent to North Dakota Pharmacies.  Other groups and individuals signed the letter that thanked pharmacists for their service, informed them of the need for accessible prescription labels and introduced them to ScripTalk as a possible solution. 

Last fall board members and committee members were asked to keep track of their volunteer hours and report them to Gretchen Campbell, NDAB Secretary.  These totals will be helpful to show those outside the organization the high level of commitment and hard work our volunteers are willing to provide in order to achieve our mission.  

Eight attended the regional blind skills training provided by North Dakota Vision Services and held in Fargo at the NDSU Crossroads Lutheran Center last fall.

We had an extraordinarily successful Giving Hearts Day in February.   We had more donors and raised more money than ever before! These achievements put us in a position at a time when many nonprofits are struggling financially. 

Allan Peterson, Trampes Brown, Donna Hepper and I attended the ACB Leadership meetings in Washington D.C. the end of February.  It was a great opportunity for information sharing, connection building and advocacy. 

Then COVID-19 arrived, and our world changed.  The board and I felt that the health and wellbeing of our members had to be our number one priority.  So, the list of cancellations grew to include the Urban Retreat, Dining in the Dark, NDAB State Convention and statewide raffle, and Adult Summer Camp. 

The pandemic did spur us in getting creative and exploring alternative options for us to get together.  We formed a partnership with the staff of North Dakota Vision Services and Coffee Chat on We Care Wednesdays was started.  It was embraced by the membership and a short time later Tech Talk Tuesday followed with similar success.  These two weekly calls are hosted by staff from NDVS and others, promoted by me and attended by many who have found them to be socially engaging during a time of social distancing.  They are also a great means of sharing of information and learning from one another and guests. 

They continue to be well attended and a welcome means of education and membership communication in addition to the monthly Just Talking calls that we have been enjoying since April 2018.  The Insight Support Group of Fargo has also continued to meet monthly.  They have graciously extended an invite to all of us to join their conference call meetings.    

In an effort to equip our members with the ability to participate in the profusion of Zoom calls being held since the pandemic arrived, four Zoom trainings were held.  They not only helped us prepare to take part in piano recitals, family gatherings, and church events like bible studies, they also helped us prepare to present and participate in the virtual 2020 ACB Convention.

Because our convention has been postponed until June of 2021 and elections could not be held, all those up for election this year were asked to serve another year. All accepted the invitation except Mary Stip leaving her position as Vice-President open.  We welcome Alexander Engraf who was then appointed and approved as our new VP. 

Though our plans have been changed and we haven’t had the usual opportunities to get together, our relationships remain strong.  This is a result of the special efforts many have made to stay connected with phone calls and emails.  I encourage all of you to continue reaching out to one another within the organization as well as to those not yet a part of NDAB. 

This is an uncertain and difficult time but also a time of opportunity. An opportunity for us to remain flexible and use our resources and creativity in finding new ways to learn, grow and connect. 

Zelda Gebhard, President

2020 NDAB MEMBERSHIP REPORT

By Mary Lou Stip, NDAB Vice President

Numbers as of June 14, 2020:

246 active members

40 blind

109 visually impaired (60.56 percent blind and visually impaired.)

97 sighted. (39.43 percent)

1 Honorary member (Terry Nelson, St. Paul, MN)

4 Lifetime members (Helen Baumgartner, Mandan, Shereen Faber and Richard Feldman of Fargo, and Elaine Kelm, Jamestown.)

26 new members.

4 did not renew.

2 deaths: Robert Geske, Fargo, January 13, 2020

 Clifford Phelps, Grand Forks, April 20, 2020

Treasurer’s Review of 2019-2020

There were successful fundraisers with the Camp Grassick auction, Walk for Vision and Giving Hearts Day. Memorials, donations, Lions and charitable gaming have been providing NDAB with additional funds that are used to support the mission of the organization.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, NDAB has adequate assets for programming for the upcoming year. Although the income is decreased, so are the expenses. The NDAB 2020 State Convention was not held. The ACB National Convention was virtual and Camp Grassick Adult Camp was cancelled for this summer. The Officers and Board of Directors are volunteers and we already utilized conference calls for meetings.

The 2019-2020 NDAB Budget, approved by membership at the State Convention in 2019, will be carried over to 2020-2021. This decision was made by the Board.

Respectfully submitted,

Rebecca Anderson, Treasurer/Registered Agent

2019-2020 Development Report

Summary of NDAB Fundraising Activities

First, a very grateful THANK YOU to Rebecca Anderson for her financial recordkeeping which is so very important to the operation of our organization and to our fundraising activities.

Second, A HUGE very appreciative THANK YOU to all of you who either made donations to NDAB or helped in some way with our fundraising activities during this past year! Without you individually and as a group, we wouldn’t have had the ability to raise the funds we need to operate as an organization.

During our past fiscal year that began June 1, 2019 and ended this May 31, 2020, we have continued to be engaged in 3 primary fundraising activities: (1) participation in Giving hearts Day (GHD), (2) our annual Walk for Vision, and (3) letters sent to North Dakota Lions clubs and organizations that have a charitable gaming license in North Dakota. Each of these funding streams continue to be significant contributors to our fundraising successes and financial health.

Our income total for fiscal 2019 – 2020 from donations, fundraisers, and promotions was $50,638. A breakdown into categories by percentages of this total are as follows: Online donations made on Giving Hearts Day (GHD) = 20.25%; generic donations = 20.62%; Walk for Vision = 15.43%; donations from ND Lions Clubs = 12.71%; donations from licensed charitable gaming organizations in ND = 13.53%; Summer Camp Auction =11.98%; memorials = 5.29%; t-shirt sales = 0.66%.

Notes:

The income total listed above for donations and fundraisers does not include membership dues, convention fees, and raffle income.

Giving Hearts Day requires participating organizations to establish a Match Fund as a challenge to donors. For this purpose, we established a $12,113 Match Fund that was secured from individual donors, North Dakota Lions Clubs, and licensed charitable gaming organizations in ND. The Match Fund together with the online donations on Giving Hearts Day accounted for 43% of our donation income total for fiscal 2019-2020. This year’s Giving Hearts Day was our fourth year of participation in this event.  In both amount of funds raised and the number of individual donors, it was our best ever. A complete summary of our 2020 GHD results were published in the May Promoter.

Our annual Walk for Vision was held in conjunction with White Cane Safety Day on October 15, 2019. Walks were held in both Grand Forks and Fargo. A grand total of $8,011 was raised.  A summary of the Walk results was provided in the February Promoter.

An acknowledgement of much gratitude and appreciation to those who helped with the appeal letters we sent to licensed charitable gaming organizations in North Dakota late last fall, those helpers were: Paula Anundson, Karlyn Frantsen, Zelda Gebhard, Diane Giessinger, Donna Hepper, Susan Jorgenson, Beatrice Krogen, Carol Schmitt, and Lexee Steffan.

Not surprisingly the downturn in our nation’s economy associated with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, seriously curtailed fundraising, and donations that nonprofits heavily rely on as major sources of income. The impact of the pandemic on NDAB’s financial health has yet to be determined.  We are fortunate in that our major fundraisers had already been completed before the pandemic had such a serious effect on our nation’s economy. Also, we do not have payroll expenses for salaried employees or the expense of ongoing daily services, such as that which a homeless shelter would experience.

Bottom line: In terms of income and expenses, thankfully we were in the black, just where we want to be!

Editor’s Report

By Lexee Steffan

As of July 1st, 2020, NDAB has 248 members. Of those members, 122 of them receive their Promoter via email. 33 receive their Promoter in print, which is sent Free Matter for the Blind. Six members receive their Promoter via print, which requires postage. Three stamps are used for each of these copies. 27 Members receive their Promoter via digital cartridge through the North Dakota State Library. Four members receive their Promoter in braille. 56 members do not wish to receive The Promoter.

Awards Report

By Shereen Faber

The Bob LePage Award was decided to be given to Tracy Wicken. She will receive the award at the 2021 convention in Fargo. The Advocate of the Year Award was decided that it would be a surprise like the Ed Christiansen Award. The 2020 winner will also receive their award at the 2021 convention. As for the Ed Christiansen Award, The 2020 and 2021 winners will both be announced at next year’s convention.

Communications Committee Report

The communications committee met three times last year. We worked on both routine tasks and new projects.

We updated the look and feel of the website. The fonts and colors match the new stationery. We strive to ensure the website still is fully accessible for screen reader users.

This project is not complete. We want to conduct a full content review.

Last winter, we created mailing lists for internal business communications. There is a list for the communications committee, the board, and the leadership. We plan to make an announcement-only mailing list for all members.

Next year, we will create external email lists. These will send information to donors and supporters.

The contact list for leaders previously published on the website was replaced with a form. You can send a message to us, and we do not have to share our personal information.

There were teething problems as some nasty spam and scam messages were sent through the form. We want to ensure the form is easy to fill out, so we are carefully adding measures to stop the malicious users.

For members who want to contact leaders directly, please use the roster at the end of each Promoter.

We have lots to do and we can always use some help. We need somebody with graphic design skills, and we can always use writers. If you want to join us, then contact Robert Hart.

Legislative Report, Summer 2019

By: Allan Peterson and Zelda Gebhard

Unarguably, the game changer that has influenced every aspect of our daily lives over the past 4 months has been the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the many casualties of the onset of the pandemic was the cancelation of our NDAB state Convention. Consequently, no new resolutions were adopted that might be used as tools for our ongoing advocacy work. Not to fear, it won’t stop us, we will find many ways to have our voices heard at the upcoming state legislative session and in the new session of Congress that convenes their next session in January of 2021.

As you know, the pandemic, racial tension, and politics have all dominated our 24-hour news cycle and seemingly this isn’t going to change anytime in the foreseeable future. Admittedly, there is much in the news cycle that could be construed as depressing, but on the other hand, there are many things that can be viewed as signs of hope for the future. Accentuate the positive please!

Eyes on the prize: this fall’s election is scheduled to happen on Tuesday, November 3. Please exercise your right to vote. Absentee voting and voting by mail undoubtedly will be used now more than ever. Some states have instituted a law that allows persons who are blind and visually impaired access to an independent secret “vote by mail” ballot or to vote in this way by casting an electronic ballot in this fall’s election. We are exploring this possibility with officials in the Secretary of State’s office. More to come about this later.

This fall’s election is very important and will do much to define the future course of our state and our nation. So, please do take some time to educate yourselves about the candidates and the issues before you vote on November 3. We encourage you to get to know who is running for seats in the state legislature in your legislative district.  There are 47 state legislative districts. Out of those, only half of them will have elections for state senate and house at a time.  In 2020, the even numbered districts and in 2022, the odd numbered districts will have their turn. 

Be sure you are counted.  You can still respond to the 2020 US Census.  To avoid the exposure of having a census taker visit you in your home, you will want to do one of the following before August 11, 2020. 

Complete and mail back the paper census that was mailed to you. 

Dial 1-844-330-2020 and give them your address and number of people living in your household (no reference number necessary).  There will be a person available to help you complete your census over the phone. 

Go online to 2020census.gov and complete your census there. 

Completing the census is important and isn’t hard to do.  It should only take you a short time to complete and accurate numbers are important for many reasons.   

Remember, you count!

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