The Promoter – February 2019

Official Publication of the North Dakota Association of the Blind
Editor: Kathy Larson

Table of Contents

From the President

Greetings from the Gebhards! May 2019 be filled with much joy and many blessings!

Are you a resolution maker? I am, well sort of but not in the sense that most people usually make “New Year’s resolutions.” Instead of making a resolution as I start a new year, I find I am constantly making resolutions. In fact I not only make them yearly, but monthly, weekly and very often daily.

Just what is a resolution? The dictionary says a resolution is “A decision to do or not to do something.” If a resolution is just a decision to do or not to something, we are presented with the responsibility and/or opportunity to make many, frequent resolutions.

There are, of course, some decisions that are best made after much serious thought and contemplation. One such decision is when and whom to marry. I made that decision long ago. As I write this, I am happy to report that Steven and I are celebrating 41 years of marriage. Yes, we were married in January. I guess you could say many of the most important decisions or resolutions I have made in my life have occurred in January. I started my first job at Faulk County Memorial Hospital in January,1977. We moved from Faulkton, SD, to Edgeley, ND, in January,1996 and the most recent, really big decision came on January 1 when Steven retired from his position as the Senior Ag Loan Officer at Dakota Plains Credit Union. I include this only because it was a decision made by both of us because it is another one of those really big decisions that will bring about lots of changes in his life, but also in mine.

This January I have decided to; yes, you can say I have resolved to seek better balance in my life. Everyone is talking about life balance. They say that living in balance leads to health and happiness. That always sounds so good and is something I have desired for years. But yet balance seems to elude me. Sometimes I believe I am living in better balance and then comes along a week like this which is totally out of whack! It is “the week of the meetings!” I have consented and committed myself to attending five meetings – four of which are teleconference meetings and one I am hosting in my home! Guess you could say I have broken my resolution and we are only on day 8 of the new year. But wait, my resolution was to SEEK balance in my life so maybe things aren’t as hopeless as they may seem.

I have done some reading about balance. One writer suggests the following: “10 tips to achieve life balance” 1. Learn to say no, 2. Eat real food, 3. Move your body, 4. Schedule a digital detox, 5. Keep a planner, 6. Read books, 7. Stop comparing, 8. Accept help, 9. Allow yourself to indulge,10. Don’t take life too seriously.

I think I will give her suggestions a try though #6 has already provided me with some confusing facts after reading the following: “Life is all about balance. You don’t always need to be getting stuff done. Sometimes it is perfectly okay, and absolutely necessary, to shut down, kick back and do nothing.” Maybe next week I’ll give that advice a try.

My advice to you: do what makes you happy. Try to balance exercise with rest and work with relaxation. Can it be as simple as that? I don’t know, but I’m going to give it a try!

The best to you and yours,

Your president,

Check out the upcoming events:
January 31 – Disability Awareness Day, ND State Capitol
February 1 – NDAB membership dues are due
February 10 – Next NDAB Board Meeting
February 14 – Giving Hearts Day 2019
February 19 – Just Talking, topic about Aria
February 23-27 – ACB Presidents Meeting & Legislative Seminar, Washington D.C.
June 7-9 – 2019 NDAB Convention, Minot

From the Editor

Welcome to 2019! I’m not sure what happened to 2018! I’ll repeat Charlie Brown’s quote that Stan Larson shared in the last Promoter:
“The past should be left in the past or it can steal your future. Live life for what tomorrow can bring and not what yesterday has taken away. Every day is a gift.”

Every day is truly a gift.

Thanks to Loris Van Berkom for sharing the following:
“Saying goodbye doesn’t mean anything. It’s the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it.” –Trey Parker, co-creator of South Park

Here’s a quote from Michelle Zentz:
“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” –Jonathan Swift

Michelle also shared this:
What is the scariest thing that can be read in braille?
Do Not Touch!

Thanks again to those who sent articles for this issue of the Promoter. I really appreciate your promptness in getting things emailed to me by the deadline! If there are quotes or articles you’d like included in the May 2019 Promoter, please send them to

Kathy Larson, Promoter Editor

Welcome to NDAB

We welcome the following new members to NDAB: Greg Falde of West Fargo, Scott Burlingame of Minot, and Vicki Jorgenson from Rothsay, MN.

NDAB Membership Renewal Reminder

If you’ve already sent in your renewal form and dues for this year, thank you! If you haven’t yet sent in your 2019 NDAB Membership Renewal form and dues payment of $15.00, please do so. The deadline for dues payment is February 1st.

Renewal of your membership allows you to participate in the programs and services NDAB offers such as Summer Camp and receiving our quarterly newsletter, The Promoter.

Each year, $5.00 of your membership dues goes to The American Council of the Blind (ACB), our national affiliate. This allows us one vote per 25 NDAB members at the national convention. Our dues to ACB are due March 15th of each year. NDAB is not allowed to vote on national issues that affect the blind and visually impaired if national dues are not paid on time.

Sometime in the first part of February I will be sending out second notices. If you don’t receive one, please give me a call or E-mail me.

Mary Stip, Membership Chair (701) 720-0738 E mail or

Save the Date

Submitted by Trampes Brown

If you are anything like me, you shiver a little harder and bundle up more and more on these chilly winter days. Anticipating the coming spring and summer in the seemingly very distant future, I have wonderful news to warm you, Minot is looking forward to having you all attend the 2019 NDAB State Convention which will be held June 7th, 8th and 9th at the Sleep Inn and Suites in Minot. We are planning a variety of great activities centered around our theme “Envision the Possibilities.” The convention committee is pleased to announce we have confirmed our banquet speaker and presenter, Billy Altom. Billy is the National Director of Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL). He is a passionate, charismatic and respected advocate on the national political front focusing on areas of accessible public transportation, service for rural communities and new and evolving issues such as Lyft, Uber and Airbnb accessibility issues. Billy will have you on the edge of your seat as he empowers and encourages and entertains each of us. He is a talented musician who will also have us singing and maybe dancing to songs we all know. The convention committee is excited to make this year’s convention an event that will have you “Envisioning the Possibilities” for you and the future of NDAB.

Plan Ahead

Submitted my Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman

Don’t pack your bags just yet, but it’s not too early to start planning to attend the 49th annual NDAB Summer Camp held at the Elks Camp Grassick Camp. Camp dates are August 4-11, 2019. If you have any suggestions for camp classes, contact Loris at (701) 774-3399 or e-mail at The banquet theme is “Mardi Gras.” More information will follow in the next Promoter.

Elks Camp Grassick to Benefit on Giving Hearts Day

Elks Camp Grassick, the host site for NDAB Summer Camp, has the opportunity to raise a tremendous amount of money for its programs on Thursday, February 14th. Elks Camp Grassick, along with many other nonprofit organizations from around the state, has been selected again this year to participate in a one-day, online fundraiser. Giving Hearts Day is sponsored by Dakota Medical Foundation, Impact Foundation, and the Alex Stern Family Foundation. Contributions of $10.00 or more made on line through a credit card on that day will be multiplied by DMF and other generous donors. It is simple and secure to contribute to your favorite charity participating that day.

On Thursday, February 14th, go to, select Elks Camp Grassick, and fill out the simple information requested. Your gift can also be in honor of someone as a memorial. If you do not have access to a computer, you may call the office at Elks Camp Grassick that day at (701)-327-4251 and Dan Mimnaugh, the camp’s director will assist you through the process. Contributions may be made online any time that day between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. Camp Grassick made close to $123,000 last year, during that one day, and we would like to meet or surpass that amount again this year.

Last year on Giving Hearts Day, there were 63,635 donations to over 326 charities and causes in North Dakota and western Minnesota. The $13.1 million raised in 2018 is now at work improving health, stocking pantry shelves for the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, funding great arts performances, providing mentors for at-risk kids and, in countless other ways, making life richer for everyone in our region.

Giving Hearts Day is powerful because it inspires so many to give for the first time or contribute to newly-discovered charities. Organizations find that 25% of donations come from new givers. It’s the start of a fulfilling relationship: new donors learn about great causes, and organizations learn about people who’ve signaled their support for their important missions.

Please put this important date down on your new 2019 calendars and on Thursday, February 14th go online and give generously from your heart to Elks Camp Grassick and other worthy charities in your area. Also this year, any check written to “Elks Camp Grassick” or the charity of the person’s choice of at least $10.00 or more and dated “Feb. 14, 2019” with the memo “Giving Hearts Day” will also qualify as a GHD Contribution. These checks need to be sent in and received by or before Thursday, February 14th, 2019. They may be mailed to Elks Camp Grassick, P.O. Box F., Dawson, ND 58428-0005

Members of Our NDAB Family

By Kathy Larson

We have lost another long-time NDAB member. G. Richard Veal, 89, died October 29, 2018, at Miller Point Community in Mandan. Many of us knew him as Dick, perhaps meeting him for the first time at camp where he taught caning among other classes. He joined NDAB in 1977. Dick was born March 3, 1929, in Perkins County, SD. He married Ina Kavonios in 1950. Following marriage, they moved to Faith, SD, before moving back to Bismarck where he began working at the Case dealership in Mandan, being employed there for over 20 years until the mid-70s when he went to work for Melroe, in Bismarck. He lost his eyesight in 1976 and had no choice but to retire. Richard enjoyed woodworking, Ham radio, computers, traveling, and keeping active around the house. He is survived by his granddaughter, Rhonda Cook; his great-grandchild, Caleb Cook; son-in-law, Richard Wengel; brother-in-law, Boyd Veal; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ina; his son, Dwayne; daughter, Jeanne Wengel; parents; and his brothers and sisters.

We extend sincere sympathy to Tim and Carol Kachel on the death of Tim’s father. Mel Kachel, 91, of Jamestown, passed away at Ave Maria Village on November 30, 2018. He was raised in the Fried and Jamestown areas, attending St. John’s Academy in Jamestown and High School in Portland, OR. Mel joined the Merchant Marines in 1945 and was honorably discharged. He attended North Dakota State School of Science at Wahpeton, ND, and Jamestown College. Mel and Alice Hanson were married in 1953. He worked for W. H. Noel and Company, Northern Improvement, owned Mel’s Conoco, and managed the Blue Blazer Lounge in the Gladstone Hotel before joining the Jamestown Fire Department. He became Assistant Fire Chief in 1971 and Fire Chief in 1972, retiring in 1991. Survivors include three sons; Murry, Del Rio, TX; Daniel, Jamestown; and Timothy (Carol), Jamestown; five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Alice, and son David.

Later in this issue you can read a very interesting article written by Angie Kokott of Jamestown. She has just recently learned more about her eye condition that she has had from birth. She had an appointment at the Minnesota Eye Consultants in Minneapolis on January 3 and will eventually have stem cell and cornea transplant, first on her left eye. She was excited to learn that in May of 2018, a German company became the first to score FDA approval for a stand-alone prosthetic iris in the United States. The device, which is surgically implanted, is approved to treat adults and children whose iris is completely missing or damaged due to a congenital condition called aniridia, which Angie has. She hopes to receive the artificial iris. She said that she will need to have a physical in Jamestown a month prior to surgery; there are many schedules to arrange and coordinate among the doctors who will be doing the surgeries. She said everything is “up in the air,” but hopefully surgery will take place this spring. I will ask you to remember her in thought and prayer as she continues with appointments and scheduling.

We extend our deepest sympathy to Denise Kirsch on the death of her mother. Lorene Kirsch, 95, passed away January 7, 2019 at her home in Bismarck. She was born in Wilton and graduated from Wilton High School in 1941 and attended Capital Commercial College in Bismarck. She moved to Seattle and worked at Boeing Aircraft during WWII. She worked at Swan Island Shipyards in Portland, OR, as a secretary in the Vessel Delivery Office selling ships to Russia. She then worked at Studebaker Corp. in Portland, then returned to Seattle in 1949 and worked at Renton Hardware. Lorene and Andrew Kirsch were married in 1950. They lived in Millington, TN, for four years where Denise and her brother were born. Andy was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1961, and they moved to Bismarck to make their home. There she worked at the ND State Penitentiary as the Warden’s secretary, at Sears, the Register of Deeds office, and Lucas Department Store. She also helped in the development of the Bis-Man Transit System for the elderly and disabled. Lorene belonged to the Central Dakota Optimists Club for many years. She enjoyed flowers, dancing, sewing, music, reading, entertaining family and friends, and traveling, including traveling with Andy for seven years as snowbirds to Arizona. She also enjoyed her pet dogs, Fifi for sixteen years and Biscuit for over thirteen years. She especially enjoyed people and she never forgot the people she knew. People would always say she was lucky, but she would respond, “No, I’m just grateful.” Lorene is survived by her daughter, Denise Kirsch and son, Jim Kirsch, both of Bismarck, and her sister, Marian Sawicki, Wilton. She was preceded in death by her husband Andy, brothers and her parents. She will be deeply missed. Lorene truly lived life to the fullest.

We send best wishes to Candy and Terry Lien of Grand Forks as they leave North Dakota, moving to Texas. Their house was only on the market for three days when they got an offer! The closing is January 25, and they plan to leave for Texas that day. They will be living in Corpus Christi, which is on the Gulf of Mexico, but they do not have a house there yet. Until they find one, they will be living in a townhome owned by Candy’s brother which is vacant right now. Their main reason for moving was to escape the cold winters and all the ice and snow. Since Candy’s husband, Terry, walks with crutches and uses an electric mobility scooter, it was getting harder and harder for him to manage in the wintertime here. Candy says they will dearly miss all their friends in ND and MN but plan to be back for visits periodically—in the summertime! Best of luck, Candy and Terry!

Then I’ll ask you to keep Tim Kachel in thought and prayer as he is scheduled for hip surgery on February 4th. Best of luck to you, Tim, and hope to see you at camp again this summer!

In Memory of Dick Veal

Submitted by Mickey Teubner

All of us who have been a part of NDAB were saddened over the passing of a longtime friend and a life time member of NDAB. So much can be said about him.

I remember my first year attending Camp which was in the summer of 1980. Dick was one of the first people I met at the time. I remember the countless stories he would tell about where he worked and what he did in his pass time.

I guess if I had to pick out a particular memory of dick was when I purchased my first computer. He was one of the first people to help me learn the computer and learn JAWS. I must say that he had a lot of patients because I asked a lot of questions, and quite frankly, I was scared to death of the computer, afraid that I would totally mess it up! But, with patients he guided me through the learning curve, and most of all, instilled confidence in me that I can become a successful computer user.

In closing, I would like to say as a longtime friend of Dick’s, I will no doubt miss his friendship, and will keep all of the memories of him in my memory bank! To Dick Veal, rest in peace my friend!

2019 Scholarship Program

The American Council of the Blind has a great opportunity for students who are legally blind to earn a scholarship, whether you are going to a technical college, an entering freshman, undergraduate or a graduate student. Over $55,000 in scholarships are awarded to students each year. Scholarships are awarded to students who are legally blind. Legal blindness is defined as an individual who cannot see better than 20/200 in the best eye with glasses or contact lenses or whose visual field in the best eye is 20 degrees or less at the widest diameter with glasses or contact lenses. To be eligible, you need to be legally blind, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and be involved in your school/local community.

As a scholarship winner, you will experience firsthand ACB’s national conference and convention in July, where you will meet other students who share the same life experiences, create lasting friendships, and network with individuals who understand what you are going through and can help you with your journey.

The form must be submitted no later than February 15th, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. Central time.

For more information, please contact Nancy Christine Feela at (612) 332-3242 or (800) 866-3242 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. (CST). To apply, please visit We look forward to receiving your application materials.

Braille? In the 21st Century?

Sounds old school, right? Well, I think back to the days when I first started learning braille, way back in the late 1960’s when you used flash cards, and yes, bulky braille books that took up an entire book shelf.

Times have certainly changed; now people use hand-held devices that literally fit in your pocket or a back-pack that produces braille electronically.

On Thursday, December 13th, I received an early Christmas present when a package showed up at my door that morning. Not knowing at first where and whom the package came from, I asked the UPS driver if he could read the label on the box and it said sent from APH aka American Printing House for the Blind. So I went back into my apartment and slowly opened the box, and there it was, the Orbit Reader from APH!

I’ve always wanted a braille display ever since I got started into using the computer. It’s totally amazing just what you can do with this device. You can use it as a standalone reading machine where you can read electronic braille books or magazines, or you can connect via computers USB or Bluetooth.

As for me, this device has totally replaced my Bluetooth keyboard and I use the device all of the time!

In closing, I want to thank Beth Bakke Stenehjem for all she does for us as blind and visually impaired people. She certainly went to bat for me as far as helping me obtain this great device.

Thanks so very much.

respectfully submitted, Mickey Teubner

Memorials & Donations

Memorials – $170.00
Richard Veal
From: James & Karen Metheny, Ingrid Josephson, Jerry Dockter, Central Dakota Amateur Radio Club

Laurel Watson
From: Shereen Faber, Ruth Geske

Jim Antonovich
From: Shereen Faber

Donations – $1465.00
Lora Bendickson
Taylor Lions
Lake Metigoshe Lions
Korner Lions in Williston
South Forks Lions

Total Memorials & Donations – $1635.00

You may send memorial and donations to:
North Dakota Association of the Blind
PO Box 824
West Fargo, ND 58078

Rebecca Anderson, NDAB Treasurer

Nominating Committee Report

Happy New Year from the Nominating Committee! Milissa Miller, Carol Scallon and Michelle Zentz are eager to hear from members willing to serve the organization.

The following positions will be filled by election June 9th in Minot:

  • A delegate to attend the 2020 ACB Conference and Convention in Schaumburg, Illinois. First Runner up from the delegate election will be the alternate delegate.
  • An editor of the quarterly newsletter, “The Promoter,” to serve a 1-year term.
  • A board director will be elected to serve a 3-year term.
  • A secretary will be elected to serve a 2-year term.
  • A development director will be elected to serve a 2-year term.
  • A Treasurer will be elected to serve 1 year of an unexpired 2-year term.

Nominees must meet the following qualifications:
All elected officers and directors must be a resident of ND during their term of office or a city that shares a common border with its sister city in ND.

  1. To avoid conflict of interest, officers shall not hold office while serving as an officer in another consumer organization of the blind.
  2. no more than one member from a household shall serve concurrent terms.

If you have questions about responsibilities of a position call 541-2970. To add your name to the developing slate of candidates contact one of our committee members listed at the beginning of this article.

Respectfully submitted by the NDAB Nominating Committee

Seeking Nominations for Award

The Awards Committee needs your help in identifying an NDAB member to honor for outstanding efforts promoting the organization.

The Advocate of the Year is a rather new membership award. The first was awarded In 2018. It was awarded posthumously to Genie Lang. The award is given to honor the spirit of volunteerism by recognizing an NDAB member who has demonstrated an outstanding level of advocacy on behalf of others at the local, state and/or national levels and has supported the NDAB mission by yearlong advocacy efforts.

This award is one of two NDAB membership awards with the other being the Edwin Christensen Award. They are both given to acknowledge outstanding service by our volunteer members with the main difference being that the Edwin Christensen Award is given to recognize long term or many years of dedication and service and the Advocate of the Year Award acknowledges leadership and promotion having occurred in the past year, short term and yet having very positive effects on our organization and our membership.

Recipients shall be selected according to the following criteria:

  • Must be a member of NDAB in good standing
  • Has demonstrated leadership skills in the organization and/or community.
  • Has educated the public about the needs and capabilities of people with sight loss.
  • Has been Involved in the public relations and fundraising efforts of the organization.

Do you know someone who meets this criteria? If se, submit your nomination with the following information:

  • Name and contact information of the nominee.
  • A description of the ways the nominee has met the selection criteria.
  • Name and contact information of the person providing the nomination.

All nominations must be received by March 1st by either mailing them to Zelda Gebhard, 8169 66th St SE, Edgeley ND 58433 or via email to The Awards Committee will make their selection and report to the board at their spring meeting. The award will be presented during the banquet at the NDAB State Convention in June.

Thank you for helping us to recognize and give our appreciation to a hardworking volunteer.
NDAB Awards Committee

Strawberry Heaven

Submitted by Brenda Bruins

Serves 15

1 angel food cake
1-16 oz. container Cool Whip
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
3 Tbsp. corn starch
1 (3 oz) package strawberry Jell-O
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup water

Combine in medium saucepan ½ cup sugar, corn starch, Jell-O, lemon juice, and water. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Set aside to cool slightly. Stir in sliced strawberries. Tear angel food cake into 1-inch squares & toss with 2 cups of the Cool Whip. Press into 9×13” pan (I use glass, so you can see the pretty layers). Set aside. Combine cream cheese, ½ cup remaining sugar, and vanilla in mixer bowl. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining Cool Whip. Spread evenly over cake layer. Pour cooled strawberry mixture over cream cheese layer, spreading to cover cake evenly. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours before serving.

Note: You may substitute a 16-oz. bag of frozen whole strawberries, thawed, and chopped for the fresh strawberries.

Do you See What I see?

“Do you see what I see? Way up in the sky everyone? Do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite, with a tail as big as a kite.”

This song reminds me of my past year. As long as it’s moving, and it’s big, it is blurry, but I can still see the star! — like looking through 3 thick plastic bags. In April 2018, I could no longer see my name when I signed it. (Hm-m-m amazing, disappearing ink?) The eye doctor put me on five different eye drops, 18 times a day — in order to hold my vision so it doesn’t dissipate more. Two months ago, I learned more about my condition, aniridia, that I’ve had from birth. Talk about eye opening!! Research and technology have finally caught up to me. In 2013 in Vancouver, WA, a study on mice with aniridia was successful in holding back and preventing the deterioration of the cornea. Since then a trial study on a therapy called ‘Start Therapy’ has been implemented on children with aniridia and other congenital visual conditions to cut their disease off at the pass, so they now have the option to possibly see beyond their 6th- or 7th year.

Aniridia is a rare condition and because few have it, not much research has been done. They have kept an ‘eye on me’ but have not been able to do much til now. My corneas are eroded and without intervention, I’ll go blind.

“The night seems dark, but the star is still dancing!! I see it!!”

In November, my eye doctor referred me to a cornea specialist in Minneapolis. I was apprehensive about the appointment. It lasted four hours and they were very kind, professional, and explained things so I understood the medical terms. Now I only retain about five of the terms. That evening I accidentally told a friend that I had to go to a glua-, gua-, guacamole-specialist’ yet, not the ‘glaucoma specialist’ who would do the surgery to protect the ‘octave’ nerve. Honestly, I am usually a great punster, but that night I could not for the life of me say glaucoma. It came out glau-, gua-, guacamole’ every time. My music therapy and intuitive humor also kicked in with the ‘octave nerve’ instead of the ‘optic nerve.’ Thank God for humor. On January 3rd, 2019 I will see the glaucoma specialist and a surgery date will be set for some time in spring. I’ll receive a new iris, and stem cell implants that regenerate the cornea and naturally clear debris. I again will be legally blind (`My 20/20′) with which I am happy and blessed. “Rejoice children everywhere!” I pray my experience can bring children and adults with varied conditions more peace and joy in their lives. Said the King to the people everywhere, “Listen to what I say. Listen to what I say. A child, a child sleeping in the night. He will bring us goodness and light. He will bring us goodness and light.”

Merry Christmas everyone and hope yours is an insightful new year.
Angie Kokott

Double Down on NDAB On Giving Hearts Day

By Allan Peterson, NDAB Development Director

It’s my hope and wish that each of you would have the opportunity to celebrate Valentine’s Day with those you love and cherish! Whether it’s celebrating a romantic love or a platonic caring love for others, A Giving Heart is really what Valentine’s Day is all about.

The theme the Giving Hearts Day Team at the Impact Foundation chose for Giving Hearts Day (GHD) 2019 is “Count Me.” Our NDAB slogan is “Double Down on NDAB On Giving Hearts Day.” A graphic displaying two aces has been created. It shows two aces, one of hearts and one of NDAB with our logo on the face of the card. Visually, the artwork for the graphic is quite attractive.

This is a familiar term in the card game of 21 and a guaranteed winning hand is black jack or 21. With that in mind, we have set our goal for GHD to raise $21,000 or 21 times $1000 on Giving Hearts Day. Since last year’s total was about $2400 less than this amount, we feel this amount is very reachable.

The following are important guidelines that one should be aware of when making donations to NDAB on Giving Hearts Day:

  • Giving Hearts Day will be held on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019. It is a one-day, online appeal.
  • Donations can be made at using a credit or debit card. Click on the Donate Button and select North Dakota Association of the Blind from the charities listed.

Remember, on-line donations must be received between the hours of 12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. on February 14.

  • Donations may also be made by check. Checks must be dated February 14, 2019 and must be received on or before February 14th. Please mail checks to NDAB, PO Box 824, West Fargo, ND 58078.
  • GHD donations must be at least $10 or more to qualify for matching funds. All donations are eligible for a charitable tax deduction.

How is it possible for you to “Double Down on NDAB On Giving Hearts Day?” Lions Clubs from North Dakota and other friends of NDAB are contributing to a match fund. All participating charities are required by the Impact Foundation to raise a minimum of $4000 for their matching fund.

This is the fund we will use on GHD to match “dollar-for-dollar” donations given to NDAB on February 14.

Please share this information about “Giving Hearts Day” with family and friends who also potentially could choose to “Double Down on NDAB on Giving Hearts Day” and join with us in our quest to help people with vision loss lead a more productive, fulfilled life.

A major focus of the 2019 GHD Appeal is to recruit champions to support our cause. Please help to recruit champions for NDAB by asking others to donate!

The host Foundations for Giving Hearts Day have again developed a number of incentive awards for organizations achieving significant milestones and exceeding donation increases from the prior year. These incentives are strong motivators for us to make 2019 an even greater success for NDAB.

Over the past 11 years, “Giving Hearts Day” has attracted more and more media attention. This has created a lot of public awareness for organizations who choose to participate. This way of making a contribution is attractive to many who find making an on-line contribution a very convenient way to donate.

Why not “Double Down on NDAB on Giving Hearts Day”? We’re not a gamble. Place your bet on us. We’re a sure thing with a 83-year history of promoting independence for people with vision loss.

Need to know more? Contact me at or 701-715-5482.

NDAB SHA Description Project

The audio description project, for those who are hearing about it for the first time, is a project dreamed up by Jordon Lakoduk, the previous Vice President of the Scandinavian Heritage Association (SHA). The project was started to make the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot accessible to more people through creating audio description, and making the audio description accessible through an Apple iOS App. The audio description will consist of eighteen outdoor attractions in the park, along with wireless Bluetooth beacons, which will be present to allow visitors a self-guided tour to hear a recorded or Voiceover read version of text description of the attraction, historical significance, and how it came to be in the park. The project has been moving along steadily, and I have exciting news, it’s fully funded, the beacons have arrived and I’m now working to implement the software library into the app that communicates between the beacons and the iOS device. This is new territory for me and I’m reading all documentation that Apple provides on making the app and physical installation of the beacons as accessible as possible.

Our audio describer, Karla Pederson, was here from Moorhead in early July. She rejoiced at her first experiences in the park and she spent the better part of two and a half days in the park studying the buildings, statues and other attractions to capture their essence into concise descriptions. I have to commend Karla and Trampes Brown, a board member of North Dakota Association of the Blind, for joining me in the park in the scorching sun during their weekend. It is an honor to work with both of them, and we are looking forward to getting the project running for the 2019 park season which will begin on the seventeenth of May 2019. I am a strong advocate for accessibility in all forms and hope this project can be a catalyst for other audio description projects across our great state of North Dakota for many years to come.

Lastly, I would like to thank the support of NDAB, especially Zelda for pointing me in the right direction as I first stumbled across audio description in early 2018. This project wouldn’t be possible without the great supporters who have helped us reach our goal of funding: Dotcomr, Minot Community Endowment Foundation, Minot Area Community Foundation – Mike and Dorothy Dolan Fund, Verendrye Electric Trust, First Western Bank & Trust, SRT, and Magic City Lions Club.

NDAB Raffle Tickets Available

Envision the Possibilities! You have an opportunity to win BIG! Yes, we are again doing a statewide raffle to raise money for NDAB.

The cost is $10 per ticket and the prizes are $2,000 for 1st place, $1,000 for 2nd place and $500 for 3rd place.

The drawing will be on Sunday, June 9th, the final day of the NDAB Convention at the Sleep Inn in Minot. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE PRESENT TO WIN, and you do not need to be a member of NDAB to buy a ticket. Sell them to your family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. Give them all an opportunity to win big!

If you would like tickets to buy or sell, contact Gretchen Campbell at or 701-204-8943 and let her know how many books you would like, your name and address. There are five tickets in a book. She will mail them to you. The tickets will be signed out to you and you will be responsible for them. Be sure to return ALL tickets (both sold and unsold) along with any money collected to Gretchen in the enclosed envelope.

Thanks for helping with this NDAB fundraiser.
Good luck to all!


Submitted by Loris Van Berkom

My Christmas present from my son and his family who live in Florida was an item that was on my bucket list. After skydiving last year, the next adventure that I longed for was to experience ziplining. On Saturday, January 5th, I crossed off another bucket list item at Gatorland. My three grandkids and son all signed our lives away as we prepared to harness up. We climbed several steps to a tower where we were hooked on to the zipline one at a time. I really didn’t know what to expect. My grandkids went first and then it was my turn. Since I had never been even remotely close to a zipline, I did not realize that it was the slope of the line and your weight combined with gravity that created the movement. I zipped from the tower to the next tower so quickly that I didn’t have time to fear the lake filled with alligators below me. And just like that, it was over.

My son had checked on a much longer zipline course in a state park, but they were not willing to accommodate my sight loss. The staff at Gatorland were very accommodating and I would be very comfortable on a longer course with several towers.

On a side note, I did eat alligator nuggets for lunch. A sign was posted that the alligator meat that I consumed was not one of the gators from Gatorland. If you are wondering, gator meat does taste like chicken, only a little chewier.

So what’s next you might ask? I’m not sure. Learning to tap dance or clog has always been my desire but that might be lacking the spirit of adventure of which I am always searching. Only time will tell.

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. You can join in the conversation too!

Just dial 515-604-9797, access code 824825#. Remember there will be long distance charges unless you call in with a phone that is toll free such as a cell phone or home phone with free long distance.

If you have something you would like to talk about, please call me at 701-493-2399 to suggest a topic for a future call.

Future dates and topics include:

February 19 – What do you know about Aria? What can it do for you? Learn more about the amazing tool that is helping many be more independent.

March 19 – I’m a member of NDAB, now what? Whether you have just joined or have been a member for many years, call in and we will talk about the advantages, opportunities and responsibilities of being an NDAB member.

April 16 – What’s going on with Alexa now? Perhaps more of you have invested in the Amazon Dot or Dot Echo or received one as a gift. Whether you know Alexa well, just met her or have entertained a future relationship with her, call in and we’ll talk.

May 21 – What do you know about Robert? Robert’s Rules of Parliamentary Procedure that is! Call in to listen to a presentation by Trampes Brown, NDAB Board Member. There will be time for questions. If you would like to attend but aren’t available for this call, let me know right away and perhaps a call at an alternative date and time can be scheduled.

Let’s keep talking!

The following article features Brian Charlson, President of ACB affiliate Bay State Council of the Blind. He spoke at last summer’s NDAB State Convention in Bismarck.

How Being Blinded in an Accident Made Brian Charlson’s Life Better

Brian Charlson’s life changed forever on an afternoon long ago when he was alone in his family’s kitchen. Like many 11-year-old boys, he enjoyed experimenting with stuff. So he poured baking soda and vinegar into a glass bottle, screwed on the cap, and was ready to throw it into the blueberry bushes outside when it exploded in his face, glass flying everywhere. He woke up in the hospital with bandaged eyes.

“I had now entered the world as a blind person,” Charlson says. He didn’t lose all of his vision at once, but medical complications took the rest of his sight by the time he was 21.

Read the article at

Job Retention and Career Advancement Survey

Emily M. Lund, PhD, CRC
Assistant Research Professor
National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision
Mississippi State University

We are recruiting participants for a survey about job retention and career advancement. Have you had success or experienced challenges keeping a job? Have you had success or difficulty moving up the career ladder? Please share your experiences of attempting to keep or advance in a job, even if those experiences were not successful.

The survey is open to individuals who are blind or have low vision, born between the years of 1950 and 1991, who have ever been employed post-education for at least minimum wage. The survey may be completed electronically at, or you may call 1-662-546-0737 to request an appointment to participate by telephone.

Participants who complete the survey may enter into a drawing for a gift card for $100. Please know this survey may take 30 to 40 minutes to complete. For assistance or further information, visit the project overview webpage for Job Retention and Advancement: A Mixed Methods Investigation or contact Anne Steverson ( or Adele Crudden (

The Pitfalls of Being a Caregiver

by Larry P. Johnson

Reprinted from “The San Antonio Express-News,” Jan. 6, 2018.

(Editor’s Note: Larry P. Johnson is an author and motivational speaker. You may contact him at, or visit his website,

Becoming a caregiver for a loved one changes your relationship and your life. In the beginning, you are filled with compassion, concern and determination to do everything you can to help. You even welcome the opportunity to show just how much you love that person. If it is a spouse or parent who is going blind, you dedicate yourself to being their eyes. You take over the driving, the cooking, the paying of bills, and you’re happy to do these things, because you love them.

Gradually, you take on more of the household responsibilities. Your loved one, in turn, becomes frustrated, angry and feels helpless. Perhaps they settle into idleness and depression and don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. Or perhaps they become bossy and demand that you do everything for them — take them shopping, to medical appointments, read their mail, and look up information for them. Their demands become intrusions on your time. You’re afraid to leave them alone. You stop going places you used to go. No more volunteering at church. No more afternoons playing bridge, golf or going bowling. You are handcuffed to their needs.

To make it easier for them, and you, you take charge. You make more of their decisions for them. You decide what they should wear, when and where they go out, even what they eat. You become their boss.

What in the beginning was an eager, loving commitment has now become a strained relationship, a 24-hour obligation sapping your energy and eroding your good humor. Soon you find resentment and regret creeping into your consciousness. You sense the person you knew is not the person your loved one has become. You’re angry and upset that they have contracted this disease and at the doctors for not being able to cure it. What’s more, you feel guilty over your resentment. The relationship has become dangerously negative.

I know of more than one case where loss of vision in a spouse has resulted in divorce, while with others, the relationship has become so tense and unpleasant, separation might be a happier outcome.

So what can you do to preserve a loving relationship when one of your parents or your spouse experiences a serious disability such as going blind? First, recognize that as a caregiver you can help them most by not trying to do everything for them. You can encourage them to do things for themselves, to be as independent as possible.

With the help of a professional orientation and mobility specialist, they can learn to get around outdoors on their own, how to safely do things such as cook and clean, read their own mail, take their medicine on time, etc. A visually impaired spouse or parent can be more independent than you realize. Vision rehabilitation programs, specialized adaptive aids and appliances and independent skills training are offered by both state agencies and Lighthouses for the Blind.

It is true that vision loss can be devastatingly traumatic to a person’s ability to be independent and to participate in ordinary activities, but it is also true that “there is, for sure, life after loss of sight.”

And that’s how I see it.

Legislative Report Winter 2019

By Allan Peterson

Today, depending on whomever you may visit with, their viewpoint on “border wall security and government shutdown” might be quite different from yours. It’s becoming more and more evident to this writer that the functions of good government policies are critically important. Further, it’s truly unfortunate that our recent divisive politics and those who have sought to exploit those divisions have had such a deleterious effect on the functioning of our government. Also, it’s apparent that we are in desperate need of better ways to heal our political divisions and not to seek ways to bully political opponents while trying to iron out policy differences.

The nationwide general election last November did change the political landscape somewhat in Washington, D.C., but this election continued to further solidify the Republican Party’s control over state government in North Dakota. As a consequence of the election, Republicans have a 37 to 10 majority in the State Senate and a 15 to 79 majority in the State House of Representatives plus they continue to control every one of our statewide elective offices. Also, the Republicans now hold each of North Dakota’s three seats In Congress; Congressman Cramer successfully won former Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s seat in the U.S. Senate, so John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer are now our U.S. Senators and Kelly Armstrong is North Dakota’s lone Congressman.

Now that elections are over and done, it is time to govern. Thursday, January 3rd, was the start for both the 66th session of the North Dakota Legislature and also the 116th session of the U.S. Congress.

One of the biggest issues during every state legislative session is adopting the budget that authorizes operating funding for state government for the upcoming two-year biennium. The State Office of Management and Budget (OMB) with guidance from the Governor’s Office prepares the proposed budget that’s submitted to the State Legislature at the beginning of the Session. The Legislature then uses the Governor’s budget as a template and will either accept or modify it as they determine how state funds will be allocated during the upcoming 2019 – 2021 biennium.

During our 2018 NDAB Convention in Bismarck, we adopted four resolutions dealing with appropriations that will be addressed by this session of the Legislatures. These resolutions were: (1) the state appropriation request for North Dakota Vision Services / School for the Blind (NDVS/SB, (2) the state appropriation for the Older Blind Program, (3) State and Federal funding for public transit services that operate in North Dakota, and (4) Federal funding for the Talking Book Program at the State Library in Bismarck.

Each of the North Dakota State legislators, whether they be a state senator or state representative, serve on two or more committees that meet during the session. The committees conduct hearings on bills, gather testimony and information. There are eleven separate committees in the State Senate and the same eleven also exist in the State House of Representatives. These committees are Appropriations, Education, Finance & Taxation, Human Services, Industry-Business & Labor, Judiciary, Agriculture, Energy & Natural Resources, Government & Veteran Affairs, Political Subdivisions, and Transportation. During each session typically 800 to 1100 bills are considered and are assigned to one of these eleven committees. All the bills are heard in committee and public testimony is invited. All bills are voted on in committee and are passed on to the full House or Senate with a “do pass” or “do not pass” recommendation.

If a bill is successfully passed in either the Senate or House, it then goes to the other Legislative chamber at the time of “crossover” which is about midway through the legislative session. The crossover date this year is Friday, February 22.

During the session, the Appropriations Committees in the Senate and the House are the busiest. They meet every day of the week and they tend to work very long hours. The resolutions that we adopted at our 2018 Convention speak directly to the work of these committees, so we will closely monitor the hearing schedules to make sure that we have an opportunity to provide written and oral testimony in support of funding the services that are addressed in our resolutions.

One of the better opportunities we have to educate legislators during the session is at “Disability Awareness Day.” This year it will be on January 31. Disability Awareness Day is an event hosted by the North Dakota Disability Advocacy Consortium. A number of the nonprofit organizations who represent people with disabilities who are members of the Consortium are assigned table space in the Capitol on that day. This event does provide us with a great opportunity to advocate with legislators and the public at the Capitol. Notably, this is where we first had an opportunity to visit with our Board member, Robert Hart.

On February 23 through February 27 Zelda, Carol Schmitt and I will be attending the American Council of the Blind’s Legislative Seminar. Undoubtedly, one of ACB’s Seminar priorities will be seeking to maintain federal funding for services for people who are blind and visually impaired. This includes the Talking Book Program and the Older Blind Program and others as well. It’s vital that we continue to remind them that we are not going to go away, and we fully intend to be strong advocates for these services. This is the message that we will be carrying to our North Dakota congressional delegation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, February 26.

Where Are You Going?

Reprinted with permission from Steve Goodier

An army chaplain tells of the time he was asked to preach at a church some 20 miles from the base. He took his family along but had neglected to tell his six-year-old daughter where they were going. After a few miles on the road, she asked, “Dad, when we get to where we’re going, where will we be?” A good question! And one all of us should try to answer for ourselves.

Think of your life’s journey. When you get to where you’re going, where will you be? One year, five years, or even 20 years from now, if you keep heading in the same direction you are heading and keep doing what you are doing, what will your life look like? Not only vocationally and financially, but what kind of person will you be? Do you have a pretty clear picture of the way you would like things to turn out, or will you be as surprised when it happens as everybody else?

It has been my experience that most people do not spend much time with these questions. But as Henry David Thoreau once said, “In the long run, we only hit what we aim at.”

To live aimlessly is to waste this precious gift of life. But to live with direction is to live fully.

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