The Promoter – August 2021

Table of Contents {#table-of-contents .TOC-Heading}

From the President 3

From the Editor 4

Members of our NDAB Family 5

Just Talking 5

Join Us at Coffee Chat Book Club 7

2021 NDAB Convention Wrap-Up 8

September 11, 2001 Poem 19

Health Journey By Mickey Teubner 22

Easy Recipes You Can Make Today 22

What I Have Learned 27

Donations April-June 2021 30

Lions Video Magnifier Report 2021 32

NDAB Convention Awards Committee Report 33

The Olga Neal Estate Committee 37

Sports and Recreation Committee Report 38

Development Report, NDAB Convention 2021 38

Legislative Report, NDAB Convention 2021 43

From the President

by Trampes Brown

The North Dakota Association of the Blind has a vibrant history based on rich traditions and strong virtues. As I begin my first term as president of NDAB I look forward to fostering our traditions and virtues as we explore and develop new programming and exciting opportunities for all current and future members of our great organization. We have accomplished so much through this challenging time. We faced the cancelation of events that are cherished by so many in our organization. I believe the challenges we have been able to overcome with creative thinking, teamwork, and countless hours of dedicated volunteering speak volumes to how great NDAB is and will continue to be in our future.

One of the many strengths of our organization is the number of talented members. With that in mind I truly want to encourage each and every one of you to show off what you can do. We have many opportunities to make NDAB stronger and more vibrant. From serving on committees, planning events, assisting with communications and fundraising, to coming up with new activities and programs for our membership, as well as providing outreach to the general public for how people with vision loss live, work, and play in our great state. With this in mind, I want us to focus on three things NDAB needs to consider when we look at things we are currently doing as well as things we may consider doing moving forward.

  1. We need to be kind. No matter what we are doing, I want everyone to consider what we are saying and doing. Is this going to upset or hurt someone, the actions, the words, or the tone? I am not trying to be preachy to anyone, however, I want to establish this as one of the best practices for how we operate. Whether we are talking to someone or about them, think about how it would make someone feel. If anyone has an issue with someone's actions or words, please talk to that person and express your opinions respectfully. We all have different opinions, but, at all times, we need to consider the mission and values of our organization. ­­­
  2. Teamwork is essential. We all have different skills and abilities, and it takes all of our unique skills working together to accomplish the many goals of our organization. Some will lead committees, some will assist with planning, and others may serve behind the scenes. As a self-proclaimed servant leader, I will gladly wipe the tables at some events and stand up front at others. I encourage all of you to consider participating in different roles at different events.
  3. Be a problem solver. Don't identify a problem without also offering ideas on how to improve that situation. There are always ways to improve any programs or events that NDAB sponsors. I'm encouraging you to offer solutions, not complaints.

In closing, I ask that you keep our vision statement in mind: "For all North Dakotans who are blind or visually impaired to live fulfilling, independent lives." We are a financially strong and vibrant organization, with ample opportunity to improve the lives of people with vision loss in our communities and state. To paraphrase President Kennedy, ask yourself what you can do for NDAB, not what NDAB can do for you. I look forward to working with the Board and all members of NDAB. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at or 701-389-7982.

From the Editor

Hello NDAB!

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to become your new NDAB editor. Lexee will be a tough act to follow. She has done such a great job with the Promoter in the last two years.

I do not have the background Lexee had with this organization, so I hope you can assist me in making the Promoter the best it can be. I welcome any and all suggestions members have towards the publication and would love to try new articles or submissions. If you have suggestions, please give me a call at #************ or email me at Thank you again for the opportunity to assist this wonderful organization.


Beth Bakke Stenehjem, Promoter Editor

Members of our NDAB Family

We extend sincere condolences David McCloud on the passing of his brother Robert on July 24, 2021.

Just Talking

August will be our 40th Just Talking call. We will have a variety of informational and entertaining calls through the end of the year.

Just Talking is the third Tuesday of each month from 7- 8 p.m.  Please join in on the conversation.  Instructions are below.

Zoom Connections:  

Link for computer or smart devices 


One tap mobile


Landline or cell phone

Dial: 1 253 215 8782 

Meeting ID: 845 243 2062#

There will be long distance charges unless you call in with a cell phone or home phone with free long distance. 

August 17 – Committees and involvement in the organization

NDAB is not run by one or two people, it takes an army of volunteers. Find out about our different committees and volunteer opportunities that you can be a part of to help guide our organization into the future.

September 21 – Social Media: How to use it and how NDAB will use it

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. You may have heard of these, but do you know about WhatsApp, Clubhouse, and other new and exciting accessible social media platforms? Find out how you can use them and how NDAB can use them.

October 19 – The Fun Continues – Camp videos and games

If you enjoyed Flashback Friday at the Convention, join us for more videos from camp and more games for an enjoyable evening together.

November 16 – Assistive Technology 

Whether it's the latest screen magnification software, Braillenotes, or other apps or accessible features for your smartphone, join us for the latest and greatest in the world of assistive technology.

December 21 – An NDAB Holiday: What's in your stocking?

Celebrate the holidays with your friends from NDAB with music, stories, and fun. 

To suggest a topic, call 701-389-7982 or email trampes\

Join Us at Coffee Chat Book Club

By Trampes Brown and Emily Stenberg

Every month we look forward to hearing what you — the Coffee Chat Book Club participants — have to say about the book we read that month. We have enjoyed many insightful conversations this spring and summer, and we want to thank everyone who has read the books and shared their thoughts, feelings, and ideas with the group. We have learned so much as the discussion leaders, and we hope all of you feel the same way.

We are excited to announce the books for the rest of the year, and as you will notice, they span genres and topics. We hope there's something that immediately appeals to you, and we also hope there's a book or two that pushes you out of your comfort zone. That is where growth happens, and we all know that books are powerful change-makers.

Join us the first Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m. during Coffee Chat or in the evening at 7 p.m. Watch for the Sneak Peak email each week for the Zoom link to join in. We have some participants who join us at both times! We welcome that, as we do have different questions for each time. Please reach out to either Emily ( or Trampes ( with questions.

September 1^st^\

Book: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens\

Available on Audible, Bookshare, BARD or Talking Book\


October 6^th^\

Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie\

Available on Audible, Bookshare, BARD, or Talking Book\

DB10972 or DB53469

November 3^rd^\

Book: Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy\

Available on Audible, Bookshare, BARD, or Talking Book\

DB19762 or DB58855

December 1^st^\

Book: In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd\

NOT available on Audible\

Available on Bookshare, BARD, or Talking Book\

2021 NDAB Convention Wrap-Up

After months of planning and many hours of effort, our virtual 2021 NDAB Convention is history.  It was well attended with 66 members registered.  If you were unable to attend but still want to know what happened, you can! 

See below for the links to the recordings.  Use password NDAB1936# for these three convention recordings.   

Flashback Friday–RamIS1ambDFpa-kPAQg_IMRnp3x4-mHbFJqodjp-TlW55._XTmKPX0T4D-Q6wt?startTime=1623455171000

Saturday Session 

Sunday Session

Congratulations to those elected:   

President — Trampes Brown

Vice-President – Alexandra Engraf

Treasurer — Rebecca Anderson

Secretary — Helen Baumgartner

Development Director — Allan Peterson

Director #2 – Doug Stip

Director #3 — Missy Miller

Editor — Beth Bakke Stenehjem

ACB Alternate Delegate — Allan Peterson


Mickey Teubner and I will continue serving on the board.  He, in his final year of a 3-year term as Director and I as Immediate Past President.

Thank you to Past President Mark Kueffler, Secretary Gretchen Campbell, Director Shereen Faber and Editor Lexee Steffan for your dedicated service to our organization. Your efforts have been much appreciated. You will be missed.


Our speaker was Robert (Bob) Prentice, otherwise known as "Mr. Attitude".  He shared a great message about kindness and how to spread warm fuzzies to those around us. You may want to explore his website for more inspiring information at While on his website, you will also find a recording of his message to us on Saturday.    

He invites you to share acts of kindness you have encountered in your life or have extended to others.  See his "kindness" website at

His special gift to all of us is his book "Home Grown Seeds of Success — Attitudes for Life Growth".  Get in touch with me if you want the pdf.

For convention decisions and details, please see the official minutes located in this Promoter.

Thank you for all who served on the planning committee, for the additional members who helped in any way to enable the convention to be held and especially to all of you who made it a priority to attend.

Together, we Got 'er Done in '21 — with Kindness.  

 Zelda Gebhard\
Convention Committee Chair

September 11, 2001 Poem

by Doug Stip

A little background from Doug: This poem was originally published in the Minot Daily News October 13th, 2001 and also in the *Promoter *back in November of 2001. 

Mary and I visited the World Trade Center as part of an all-day tour of New York City on Sept. 21 of 2000. We had just gotten married and were on our honeymoon at the time. I remember the tower we were in. We were more than seventy floors up and there was an observation area where you could look out the windows. We had our picture taken at the very top of that tower. 

Fast forward nearly a year later: It's Tuesday morning, and we were getting ready to go grocery shopping when Mom gave us the news. I was working for Choice Hotels International as a reservation sales agent at the time, and 9/11 had a severe effect on our business because of numerous cancellations over the next several days. Eventually I picked up pen and paper and after some tinkering, I got the attached poem. 

I re-tooled it from the way I originally wrote it and the way it appeared in the paper. Perhaps it still has relevance today after all these years. I hope so. 

Here it is, 20 years later. Doesn't seem real. The World Trade Center has been rebuilt but the more things change, the more they stay the same.

SEPTEMBER 11^TH^, 2001

By Doug Stip

The day dawned bright with promise on that warm September morn,

as New York bustled off to work. But there were none to warn

When peril in the skies appeared aboard a hijacked plane

Which hit the World Trade Center square, and terror fell like rain.

As people scrambled to escape, before their dumb-struck eyes

Appeared another hijacked flight, which in a sick surprise

Struck Tower Two, exploding in a giant fireball,

To fill the morning's news shows with the saddest scenes of all.

One hundred and ten stories of the strongest glass and steel

were no match for the madmen's plot, hatched with misguided zeal.

Commercial planes in times like this became but flying bombs,

and now, to victims by the score, they doubled as their tombs.

I am among the living, and I shake with tears and rage

Against this wicked fury which assails the global stage.

I know none of those victims, yet I feel the sense of loss.

Its' weight cannot be solely judged by raw material cost.

A broker for a New York firm will never trade again.

A nurse will never treat her patients' illnesses and pain.

And scores of firefighters and policemen in the fray

Would answer to the hero's call, but not survive the day.

There were two other stricken planes: One smashed the Pentagon.

The other crashed into a field. But terrorism's icon

Does not call much attention to a cause that's very great,

It rather, in its' cruelty, only engenders hate.

Oh, God, our nation is at war. We're crazy in our grief.

Please help us, not to be afraid but in Thee find relief.

We know You know who's guilty, and Your justice will be sure.

Until then, help us in our fight, 'til victory endure.

Health Journey\
By Mickey Teubner

Back in April of this year I started a regiment where I have started a chemo pill. I am doing much better since I started. Thank you to all who sent prayers my way!\
Many thanks, Mickey Teubner

Easy Recipes You Can Make Today

By Shereen Faber

Crack Chicken Chili

I shared this recipe with the Zoom group but thought all other members might like to try this and enjoy it.

Ingredients list:\
2-3 thawed chicken breasts\
1 can drained black beans\
1 can undrained corn\
1 can Rotel with green chiles\
1 Tablespoon chili powder\
1 teaspoon cumin\
1 teaspoon onion powder\
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing\
½ cup water\
1 eight ounce brick of Philadelphia cream cheese broken into pieces

Put all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Take a spatula and break up the chicken.

Tostada chips go very well with this chili.

What I Have Learned

by Janelle F. Olson

Over this past year, I have really enjoyed getting in on the weekly Zoom meetings held jointly between NDAB and NDVS/School For The Blind. The Tuesday Tech Talk has introduced me to a wide variety of terms. Should any of them come up in day-to-day conversation, I will now, at the very least, be able to say they ring a bell. Those of you who know me know I can't hide behind any false pretense of much knowledge in this subject area. I may have mentioned before that my husband affectionately refers to me as "One Button Olson," That being the "on and off" button of any piece of technology. I am doing my utmost best, however, to keep prodding myself along in this area. Go, me!

Early on in the pandemic, the Wednesday Coffee Chat was my favorite. Just to hear the familiar voices of my old NDAB friends and getting to meet new folks helped me feel a bit more connected to the world outside of my front door. I didn't care about the topic of the call. We could have been talking about horses or garlic, both of which do not even come close to making my favorite things list, and it wouldn't have mattered. My apology to those of you who are horse and/or garlic lovers, But I trust you get the point.

The Independent Thursday calls have also been so very interesting. There has been such great information shared from kitchen and gardening hints to tips on interpersonal relationship dynamics, and many subjects in between.

The topic of this most recent Thursday call was the ins and outs of maneuvering public restrooms. If you are like me, just the very mention of this to those of us with no or limited vision evokes a response somewhere between sweaty palms discomfort and a full-blown panic attack. The discussion was insightful and by the end of the hour, I felt a true kinship with my fellow participants. I was not alone and I hope as you read on, this will also be your experience.

The first thing that comes to mind as I write is the song "Smokin' in the Boys Room" by Motley Crue, only the name could be changed to "Walkin' in the Boys Room" because many of us girls have done just that. Unfortunately, some of us have made it all the way into a stall before our enlightenment. This once was my experience in a public restroom in Williston when I was attending a meeting for work. I was seated comfortably when someone entered and took the stall next to me. I next identified the deep voiced cough and subsequent throat clearing as belonging to a guy. This triggered a shot of adrenaline and the abrupt realization that I was not where I had intended to be. I hightailed it out of there. No, sorry, I didn't stop to wash my hands.

Speaking of handwashing, I also learned we are all persistent treasure hunters in the pursuit of either that paper towel holder or that noisy hand dryer, but we each reach our limit if neither can be located. I, myself, have had my arms in the goal post position as I touch mirrors and tiled walls while walking around the room, leaving wet streaks in my wake like a snail on the side of a glass fish tank. I was very happy and relieved to learn I am not the only one who has taken the walk of shame and slapped wet hands back and forth on my pants while exiting the room in defeat. I then connect up again with Jeff who is waiting for me in the hallway. We do sighted guide with my right hand on Jeff's left elbow. If he is wearing a long sleeved shirt, I am in luck-well, to finish drying my right hand anyway. Unfortunately, if he plucked a short sleeved shirt off of the hanger that morning, neither one of us is lucky. Sorry, Jeff.

Several years ago I took a trip to Las Vegas with three girlfriends. I will now be breaking the "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" rule because it is just too good to keep to myself. My friend Twyla and I were matched well, being the same height and having the same comfortable long-leg stride. She guided me with ease weaving through crowds on the Strip, up and down stairs and in and out of the casinos. Now and then we had to make a stop in the hotel restrooms which were all huge and shiny. I digress here for a moment. I have heard that statistically, most people will enter a restroom and gravitate to the first stall in a line of stalls. This was Twyla each time. At the third or so bathroom stop of the day, she lightly pushed on the first door in the long row, determining it was not occupied, saying, "Here you go." I slid in, faced the door as I closed it and reached for the slider closure. It was not there. Hmmm, strange, I thought. There is no other way to say this other than I had to go and time was of the essence, so I didn't fuss over the missing closure. My bathroom technique at that time could be summed up in three words: stop, drop, and plop. In other words, I would back up and stop in front of the toilet, drop my drawers and, well, just plop down.

To this very day I can't explain what happened next in that stall in that fancy hotel restroom. Perhaps it was some internal instinct or divine intervention. Perhaps it was that discovery of a missing latch on the door or just the feeling I had that the space I was in seemed narrower than the standard restroom stall. And, still today I am ever so grateful I did not get to the "plop" step before turning around and looking behind me. Something just did not feel right. It was then I figured out My dear traveling companion had unknowingly ushered me to the custodian's storage stall. Behind me where a toilet should have been, sat a huge bright yellow commercial mop bucket on wheels filled with a variety of lengths of protruding mop handles pointing skyward.

Some lessons are learned in our youth. Some lessons are learned in a classroom, seated at a desk, or in our home over a Zoom call. For me, the lesson happened standing alone in a janitor's closet in a fancy hotel restroom on the Las Vegas Strip.

Donations April-June 2021

April Donations Total $1,985.00

Donations and Memorials Total $1,598.00

In memory of Duane Preabt from Anonymous

In memory of Helen Arntson from Chris Fiechtl

In memory of Elaine Rud from Judy Rud and siblings

Kim and Toni Cady

Virginia Miller

Peg Hanson

Rodney Miller-Williston Walk for Vision

Giving Hearts Day Stripe Transfers $330.00

Thrivent $57.00

May Donations Total $3,450.00

ACB MMS quarterly $30.00

Barb M $70.00

Charitable Gaming $3,350.00

Belfield American Legion William C Blair Post #144 $1,000.00

Bismarck Eagles Aerie #2237 $100.00

Edgeley American Legion $350.00

Ellendale American Legion Post #137 $200.00

Enderlin Alumni Association $250.00

Enderlin American Legion Schwandt Goodman Post #9050 $250.00

Fargo AMVETS Post #7 $200.00

Mandan Moose Lodge #425 $1,000.00

June Donations Total $2,500.00

Charitable Gaming $2,050.00

Dickinson Eagles $500.00

Jamestown Vets $500.00

Kenmare Vets $500.00

Plaza Community Club $200.00

Tolley Fire Department $250.00

Velva Fire Department $100.00

Lions $450.00

Mandan Lions $250.00

Napoleon Lions $200.00

Respectfully submitted,

Rebecca Anderson, Treasurer/Registered Agent

Lions Video Magnifier Report 2021

By: Allan Peterson

For reference, the Lions Video Magnifier Program is administrated under the auspices of the North Dakota Lions Foundation. Over the years of its existence, the program has acquired an inventory of video magnifiers that are rented to people with low vision and sight loss who can benefit from the use of a magnifier and agree to the terms of the rent program.

Kevin Vanette from Mandan is employed as the administrator of the program, meaning that he receives the magnifier applications, collects the rent on the machines, arranges for needed repairs, and keeps records on where the machines are located.

At present, there are approximately 150 magnifiers that have been rented out to clients; and there are now 15 machines in inventory that are available to potential applicants.

Presently, the program has approximately $63,000 in its treasury, which means the program is in very good shape financially. Recently enough funds from the program were allocated to purchase a Little Room that North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind will use in its programming with infants and young children.

A Magnifier Policy Committee provides oversight and guidance for the program. Two representatives from four organizations — the ND Lion Clubs, North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, the North Dakota Older Individuals who are Blind program, and North Dakota Association of the Blind are the members that serve on this policy Committee. The Committee meets quarterly.

A trial expansion of this program is being contemplated that would add scanner machines to determine whether people who don't have enough sight to use a magnifier, might want to rent this technology so they could read printed material, such as their mail, books and magazines.

If you have questions give me a call, my home number is 701-282-4644.

NDAB Convention Awards Committee Report

By Mark Kueffler, Shereen Faber, and Tracy Wicken

Robert John LePage Service Award

Every year NDAB awards a Lions 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 people who are 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.

At this year's convention two awards were given for the Robert John LePage Service Award as our 2020 State Convention was not held due to the pandemic. However, we had many applicants for both 2020 and 2021 awards. The following is the two phenomenal and incredible winners that, as you will notice, reflect the essence of what is the Robert John LePage Service Award.

The recipient of the 2020 Robert John LePage Service Award is Tracy Wicken of the South Forks Lions Club of Grand Forks. You may recognize her name as she is also a North Dakota Association of the Blind member and has been the chair of the scholarship committee for many years.

Tracy has been a member of the South Forks Lions for almost 20 years, serving in many capacities over the years. She serves on the Board of Directors for Dakota Lions Sight and Health; she also serves as the Chairman of the ND Foundation Video Magnifier Program and was instrumental in that program's development. She is a recipient of the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award which is the highest honor a Lion can receive for service to the community and others. She served as Director of the South Dakota Lions Eye and Tissue Bank in 2016, has served on the Lions Eye Bank of North Dakota from 2013-2014 and served as President of the South Forks Lions Club in 2011-2012. Tracy is also a former braille instructor as well as a Rehabilitation Teacher of the Visually Impaired at the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and is well-known as an Assistive Technology Specialist at ND Vision Services/School for the Blind, helping individuals navigate the ever-changing world of assistive technology as it relates to individuals who have low vision / blindness. Even as far back as 1991, Tracy started a support group for seniors who are visually impaired in the Grand Forks area. Thirty years later they continue to meet monthly and cover topics specific to vision loss, living as a senior, and living in the Grand Forks area.

This, my dear friends, believe it or not, is just the short list. Without question Tracy's dedication and service to the low vision and blind community overwhelmingly reaches the spirit of which the Robert John LePage Service Award was founded. Thank you, Tracy, for all you do.

Congratulations, Tracy!

2021 Robert John LePage Service Award

This year's recipient of the Robert John LePage award is Donna Ruff of the Lehr Lions Club in Lehr, ND. She too embraces the spirit of Robert John Lepage Service Award for which this award was founded. She has been a Lion member since 2004 and has held several positions in the Lehr Lions Club, Napoleon Lions Club, District 5NC & 5NE. She served as Leader Dog Chair (2009-2010), Guiding Lion for the Ellendale Lions Club (2011-2012, 2012-2013, & 2013-2014), Lions Youth Exchange Host (2011, 2012, 2013). She currently is the chair of the Lehr Lions Blood Drive that is held three times a year. Over the years she has also spearheaded fundraising activities to include: lunches, rummage sales, 4^th^ of July Western Event, among others. She has supported events such as the Adapt-A-Highway Project, Christmas Trays for the Elderly & Needy, Santa Claus Day, again among others. Lion Donna has also extensively worked with the Site- 4 — Kids, estimating having screened over 700 children in 22 different locations and has donated over 100 hours towards this valuable project. Thank you, Donna, for all you do.

Congratulations, Donna!.

Submitted by Mark Kueffler\
Robert John LePage Service Award Chairman

Other Awards at NDAB Convention

In 2020, ACB (American Council of the Blind) presented the membership growth award to North Dakota Association of the Blind. Our vice president at the time was Mary Lou Stip, and she had a goal to reach our membership to 250 members. Mary worked very hard at reaching this goal and as she did she will receive this very nice plaque. Way to go, Mary, for all your hard work and dedication!

At the 2021 NDAB convention we had two individuals that received scholarship awards. Amy Osvold received the NDAB scholarship for $2000. She is working on her master's degree in social work through Florida State. Ethan Probst received the NDAB $1000 scholarship. He is working on his bachelor's degree in IT computer science at Minot State. NDAB extends our best to the both of you in your studies and your degrees.

The Ed Christensen Award

The first Ed Christensen Award was given in 1993, following a motion made by Joe Hintz to honor Ed Christensen who was the Administrator of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Grand Forks.

This was a state program funded by Vocational Rehabilitation for adult individuals with visual impairments. Several of NDAB's members took part in this six to ten-week training program. Ed was a member of NDAB from 1975 until 2001 and was active in updating the By-Laws in 1983. This award is given to recognize an active NDAB member and their years of dedicated service to the association.

The Edwin Christensen Award was given out for 2020 and 2021 at the convention. Those recipients were Paula Anundson from Valley City for the 2020 award and Carol Schmitt from Devils Lake for the 2021 award. Both of these women were well-deserving of this honor.

The Olga Neal Estate Committee

By Shereen Faber

As most of you know during the 2021 NDAB Convention, the Olga Neal Estate committee recommended a do pass for the little rooms project and toward two benches to be purchased and placed at Elks Camp Grassick. The benches will not be able to be placed at camp this summer but hopefully next summer. Thank you, convention body, for agreeing to a do pass on the little rooms and benches.

There were two other proposals made, one being an Olga Neal scholarship or towards a teen camp. The committee decided to table these last two proposals until next year's convention in Fargo. The committee also decided to definitely entertain other proposals leading up to next year's convention. A due date will be set at a later time. If you have any ideas or proposals, get in touch with Shereen at 701-552-3334 or send an email at shereenkay1\ Thank you so much.

Sports and Recreation Committee Report

by Trampes Brown

The Sports & Recreation Committee is pleased to announce we will once again be hosting our 3^rd^ annual retreat at Wesley Acres near Dazey, ND. The event will be held September 17^th^, 18^th^ & 19^th^, starting at 3:00 p.m. on the 17^th^ and ending at noon on the 19^th^. This year's event will be similar to the previous two years, with activities ranging from rock climbing to kayaking, as well as other blind sports. This year, in addition to our other activities, staff from Wesley Acres will be instructing archery classes, in part because archery was unable to be offered at the adult summer camp this year.

As a friendly reminder, any individuals with sight loss ages 14 and up are welcome to register and attend (14 — 17-year-olds do require a chaperone.) The cost is free for participants with sight loss. A plus-one is welcome to attend with each participant for $75. This can be a parent, spouse, friend, child, etc.

Wesley Acres's COVID-19 policies will be adhered to for this event as well as NDAB Camp policies and guidelines.

The Sports & Recreation Committee is excited to welcome each and every one of you to attend this year's retreat, as we promote exploring new activities and leading active lives. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at or 701-389-7982.

Development Report, NDAB Convention 2021

By Allan Peterson

A very grateful thank you to all who during this past reporting year, supported NDAB with your donations and, in some way, helped with our fundraising activities. As you are well aware, the pandemic effected our lives in many ways; so, no surprise that it also had a significant effect on our fundraising efforts.

Our fundraising endeavors revolve primarily around two events, the Walk for Vision and our participation in Giving Hearts Day. Our fundraising also includes the direct mail appeals that are made to ND Lion Clubs and to organizations that conduct charitable gaming operations licensed by the state of North Dakota.

Another income stream is a category called "Donations"; it is generated from sources that aren't identified with a specific appeal. Thus, it is reported separately but is very much tied into our fundraising activities. In any case, it can be said money is money wherever and however it's generated.

FYI: Our NDAB reporting year begins on June 1 and ends on May 31 of the following year; so, this past reporting year began last year on June 1, 2020 and ended this year on May 31, 2021.

First, I wish to acknowledge and thank NDAB Treasurer Rebecca Anderson for her help in compiling the figures for this report. I acknowledge and thank her for her diligence, hard work and being the responsible, honest, and trustworthy person that she is.

Income attributed to fundraising efforts during 2020-2021 = $40,743. Note: The $7,523.23 that NDAB received from Olga Neal's estate, during the past reporting year, is not included in this total.

Fund raising income by category. Income sources are distinct and are not repeated in different categories.

Giving Hearts Day Appeal= $17,609.58.

Walk-for-Vision = $10,439.07.

Charitable Gaming = $3,910.

ND Lion Clubs = $925.

Income from a mix of non-event donor sources = $7,859.35.


  • Our Giving Hearts Day Match Fund was created from donations made by Lion clubs and individual donors which included Shereen Faber's sister-in-law, Judy Geske; Judy donated her sales commissions made at the jewelry party held at Tailgaters.
  • Our Giving Hearts Day Match Fund of $14,575 is included among the above listed income sources and isn't reported as a separate category.
  • At the conclusion of the event, Giving Hearts Day administrators credited us with raising $25,890 which means we matched $12,945 of what was in our Match Fund. After the appeal, we received additional "bonus" Giving hearts Day donations that couldn't be credited to this event.
  • Thankfully, ND Lion Clubs continue to be among our most loyal supporters. Donations NDAB received from ND Lion Clubs are included in the Lion Club category also are in the totals reported for either the Giving Hearts Day or Walk for Vision appeals — they are NOT repeated in multiple categories.

Donations we received ranged from $6,250 to a few dollars. Of course, all donations are important and are greatly valued and deeply appreciated!

Expenses associated with fund raising totaled $3,895.12; $3,157.02 for Giving hearts Day; $593.18 for Walk-for-Vision; and $144.92 for the Charitable gaming mailing.

Total gross income for NDAB's last fiscal reporting year was $53,659.71 which does include the payment received from Olga Neal's estate. Income sources, other than fundraising, were Memorials = $1,523.97; Membership dues = 2,709.14; State Convention Income = $288.44; Sports & Recreation fees = $297.52; interest income = $318.06.

Potential income that wasn't generated due to the pandemic — Summer Camp Auction, Dining in The Dark with Minot Lions, and raffle sales.

NDAB Expenses for fiscal 2020 -2021 by category: Fund-raising $3,895.12; Sports and Recreation $2,868.56;

Publicity, Marketing and Promotions $2,308.75; Charitable Contributions $2,150; ACB Membership Dues $1,210; Professional (CPA financial account review) $1,145; Liability Insurance $804; Communications expenses/fees $833.86; State Convention $839; Promoter publication expenses $569.25;

Membership committee Expenses $384.65; Executive Board $317.90; Office supplies $221.44; Miscellaneous expenses $237.54; National Convention auction donation $105.99; Legislative Liaison registration fees $50. Note: There were no expenses attributed to the 2020 Summer Camp for Adults and the 2020 NDAB State Convention because of cancelation due to the pandemic; and, the expenses associated with the 2021 ACB Leadership meetings and the 2020 ACB Convention events were minimal because they were held virtually due to the pandemic.

The term "major gifts" is often used by fund-raising professionals; these gifts are thought of in terms of a larger amount of money, commonly in thousands of dollars. Personally, I think of a major gift to NDAB as something like $500 or more. Using the $500 figure, NDAB was the beneficiary of a number of major gifts this past year and it is something that I certainly hope will continue to happen well into the future. A few of these donors have requested anonymity and we very much intend to honor and respect their wishes. We sincerely thank them for their thoughtfulness and generosity

I wish to address the opinion/concern that NDAB has an excessive amount of money in reserve. I know of many nonprofit organizations that have significantly much greater amounts of money in reserve than NDAB. The fact that we do have money in reserve is a sign of good financial health. Last year was an exception, in that we did raise significantly more than we spent; normally, our expenses are fairly close to the income we generate. If we, as a nonprofit, spend a major percentage of our income on the programs that are designated in our budget, we are satisfying our fiduciary responsibilities to our donors and to governing institutions. The fact that we have money in reserve now is absolutely no guarantee that in 5 years that we will be in the same financial position that we are in today. I say that we should look on our financial reserve as our insurance policy on potential hard times that may befall us in the future.

Our fundraising efforts have a major side benefit in that we are helping publicize the word about NDAB and the work we do which among other benefits has the potential to attract new members. A special thank you shout out to Carol Schmidt for her willingness to be featured in our fundraising letters and Giving Hearts Day video to help tell the story about the NDAB scholarship program.

In taking stock of our past year, we pause to thank and acknowledge the successes that were achieved in connection with our fundraising efforts, among them were the videos that were created to promote Giving Hearts Day, the work that has been done to expand and update our data base of donors, the letter writing editing and graphic design work, the work to maintain and update our web page and Facebook page, and all the contact calls that were made and followed up on. It all boils down to hundreds of hours of volunteer work.

Bottom line: In spite of the pandemic, in my opinion, we can rightfully celebrate a successful year financially.

Respectfully submitted, Allan Peterson, NDAB Development Director

Legislative Report, NDAB Convention 2021

By: Allan Peterson and Zelda Gebhard

Perhaps the words that best describe our advocacy during this pandemic is that it was a virtual, but not an out-of-body experience?

It was advised and encourage that, because of the pandemic, that during the recent session of the North Dakota Legislature that public testimony be given virtually. As a consequence, it was through the magic of Zoom that we attended and followed the proceedings of the session as they happened at the Capitol.

Our advocacy during the session was guided by five resolutions that the Board adopted at its January 10 meeting. Four of the resolutions dealt with appropriations to state institutions that help serve our community of people with vision loss. Our fifth resolution dealt with an accessible means for people with print disabilities to cast an independent secret absentee ballot.

Last fall's election, conducted in the midst of the pandemic, underscored the need for absentee voting. It also highlighted the need for those of us who, due to a disability in reading print, cannot access the standard absentee ballot to vote independently.

Our interest in advocating for an accessible absentee ballot led us initially to seek counsel and advice from election officials in the Secretary of State's Office and staff from ND Protection & Advocacy. Through this counsel, our focus was directed to House Bill 1253, it was to be this session's chief bill on the proposed changes to be made to our state's election laws.

Our goal was to have HB1253 amended with language so that people with print disabilities can cast a secret independent electronic absentee ballot. Such an amendment to a bill needs to be introduced by a member of the Committee to which the bill has been assigned for its consideration.

Initially HB1253 was heard by the North Dakota House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee. One of the members of this Committee is Representative Mary Schneider from Fargo; we worked with her to introduce the amendment we sought for an accessible absentee ballot. This was key! After much debate in Committee and with a majority in favor, this amendment was added to House Bill 1253. Subsequently, the bill with the amendment added was then passed on the House floor by a 93 to 1 vote.

The next step for House Bill 1253 was its consideration by The North Dakota Senate Government and Veterans Affairs Committee. When the Committee had its public hearing on this bill, four advocates offered testimony in support of the amendment that would permit people with print disabilities to have the option to cast a secret independent electronic absentee ballot.

For better or worse, House Bill 1253 was an 83-page bill filled with legalese language about all manner of what's involved in the election and voting process. As you might guess, achieving an unanimity in such a lengthy, contentious document is a monumental task.

By comparison, the amendment that we advocated to have added to this bill that addresses an accessible absentee ballot is one paragraph in this very lengthy document. After its inclusion in HB1253, the amendment was not questioned again when the bill was debated in the Senate or in conference committee.

HOORAY! Thanks to the efforts of many, it's now possible for us to celebrate the advocacy success of having the amendment for a secret independent accessible electronic absentee ballot become a part of the laws which govern our state elections. Those that we wish to acknowledge and thank for their contribution in making this happen include Jim Silrum, the Deputy Secretary of State; Brian Newby, Director of Elections in the Secretary of State's Office; Teresa from ND Protection & Advocacy, Judy DeWitz from ND Protection & Advocacy for her counsel and testimony, Janelle Olson for her personal testimony on voting experiences, Trampes Brown for his counsel, and Zelda Gebhard for her very effective written and oral testimony when HB1253 was heard in Committee.

In addition, our advocacy work during this legislative session included providing written and oral testimony in support of the appropriation requests for North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind, the Talking Book Program at the State Library in Bismarck, and the Older Individuals who are Blind Program within North Dakota Vocational Rehabilitation. Our advocacy for the appropriation for NDVS/SB did highlight the need for a certified mobility and orientation instructor to serve clients in the western half of North Dakota. These appropriation bills started with hearings in the House. After crossover they were heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee. We have been informed that these appropriation bills did as well as might have been expected given the concerns about the state's financial situation and outlook for the coming biennium. We often are told by legislators that they appreciate hearing from us and that what we say helps them in making their decisions.

Virtual meetings this past year continued to be the name of the game so to speak as Zelda, Trampes, and Allan attended the Leadership Meetings of the American Council of the Blind that were held via Zoom on February 21 – 23. Two of these days were devoted to the Annual Legislative Seminar which focuses on the status and goals of ACB's advocacy efforts. Had we attended the seminar in person there would have been a day spent on Capitol Hill devoted to advocate for issues that affect people with sight loss in the offices of Senators Hoeven and Cramer and Congressman Armstrong. Instead, we arranged to have virtual Zoom meetings with staff people in each of these offices. And, we did have virtual visits with a staff person in Senators Hoeven and Cramer's offices but, notably, we did have a virtual meeting with Congressman Armstrong himself and a member of his staff.

Our virtual Capitol Hill visits focused on 4 major issues:

(1) Medicare's refusal to cover the cost for low-vision aids by its expansion of the eyeglass exclusion rule. It prohibits Medicare's purchase of any durable medical good that has a lens, such as a CCTV. We are seeking the reintroduction of the Medicare Coverage of Low-Vision Devices Act to address this issue.

(2) Reintroduction of the Disability Access to Transportation Act which addresses issues effecting the mobility and transportation needs of people with disabilities. This bill was just recently reintroduced in Congress as H.R. 1697 by Representatives Jim Langevin and Dina Titus. 

(3) Reintroduction of the Cogswell Macy Act that addresses the unmet educational needs of k12 children who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or deaf-blind. This bill was recently reintroduced in the Senate as S. 813 by Senators Markey and Capito and in the House as H.R. 1959 by Representatives Cartwright and McKinley.

(4) Reintroduction of The Exercise and Fitness for All Act that addresses the need of people who are blind or visually impaired for access to exercise equipment and facilities that currently are inaccessible. The technology does exist that could make exercise equipment accessible without much additional cost and would make it more universally accessible for all.

NDAB resolutions were composed for each of these above legislative issues, and we will share them with our congressional delegation and people in Congress as we continue to advocate for all people with sight loss in North Dakota and in our nation.

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.