The Promoter – February2017

The Promoter – February2017

Table of Contents

Greetings from the President

2016 is history and 2017 has just begun. It’s the time of the year when we’re likely to do some reflecting on days gone by and dreaming about the days to come.

I would like you to consider this quote from Henry David Thoreau: “You must not only aim right, but draw the bow with all your might.” That’s good advice for an archer and I also think it is good advice for an organization such as NDAB.

Thoreau points out that it’s not enough to get yourself focused in the right direction, but also to give as much effort as possible to propel yourself forward. The situation can arise where you know exactly where you want to go, but you just can’t muster up the motivation to build up the momentum to get you there. Another point to consider is that you can spend a lot of energy and give a lot of action, but if you’re not pointed in the right direction you won’t end up where you want to be. Both are necessary for true success and progress.
Our constitution was thoughtfully written to give us some direction: to make sure we have specific goals in mind when we go about the business of our organization. The mission and vision statements plus the purposes found in Article II, Section 1 of the constitution all make sure we don’t get off target.
That’s why I have been sharing the purposes in each Promoter to help remind us that everything we do should be guided by these. It is not enough to work hard putting our time, effort and energy into our organization but we have to make sure that we remain “sighted in” on our targeted goals. They give us direction to make sure we end up where we want to be.
In this edition, the purpose I want to remind you of is:
“A. To promote the educational, social and cultural betterment of individuals who are blind or visually impaired, particularly for those persons who reside in North Dakota.”

These are several ways we are fulfilling this purpose in January and February:
Supporting North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind (NDVS/SB) by testifying in support of the proposed budget for the next biennium.
Participating in and financially supporting Ski for Light.
Informing individuals of scholarship opportunities and financially making them available.
Advocating for federal legislation (Cogswell-Macy Act) to improve the quality of education for blind and visually impaired students.

I believe we are pointed the right direction but still I challenge you to think of additional ways we could fulfill this purpose; then together we will give as much effort as necessary to make sure we reach our goals.

Zelda Gebhard

Coming up:

Giving Hearts Day – February 9
Disability Awareness Day at the Capitol – February 16
ACB Legislative Seminar – February 26-28
Next Board Meeting – March 5
NDAB Walk – April 29

Note from the Editor

Happy New Year! Did 2016 fly by as quickly for you as it did for me? It seems like a year passes by like the blink of an eye!

The following poem is one that Dick Veal shared via email years ago; the message is awesome!

Happiness depends upon your outlook on life.
Attitude is just as important as ability.
Passion find yours this year!
Positive thoughts make everything easier.
You are unique, with special gifts, use them.

New beginnings with a new year.
Enthusiasm a true secret of success.
Wishes may they turn into goals.

Years go by too quickly, enjoy them.
Energy may you have lots of it.
Appreciation of life, don’t take it for granted.
Relax take the time to relax in this coming year.

Loris Van Berkom found the following quote on the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired website:
A blind person can hear as well as you, sometimes better. So, speak directly to a blind person, not through a third party. Interpretation is not necessary since blindness is not a separate language.
She also shared this one:
“I did then what I knew then. And when I knew better, I did better.” -Maya Angelou
You are welcome to share your favorite quotes. Send them to

Enjoy winter and stay warm!
Kathy Larson

Welcome New Members

We extend a warm welcome to the new members who have joined NDAB from across the state and the U.S. They are as follows:
Bismarck: Beth Bakke Stenehjem
Fargo: Maureen Kelly Jonason, Patricia Harr, Dennis Register, Kathy Dewall, Chad Gilbertson
Grand Forks: Ken Dockter
Minot: Audrey Hugelen, Perry Olson, Linda Mielke, Mary Wood, Barbara Satterthwaite, Mabel Verbitsky, Helen Samson, Joanne Farden
Mandan: Angela Wolff
Valley City: James B. Henderson, Jr.
West Fargo: Greg Otis
Fergus Falls, MN: Julene Joy Ramirez
Melbourne, FL: John Streese

Space Camp

On Saturday, June 11, 2016 at the NDAB State Convention held at the Home Place Lodge and Suites in Williston, ND, there was a discussion concerning sending visually impaired children to a Space Camp in Alabama. Becky Monroe made a motion to give $1,000 to help support this project. The motion passed

About Space Camp
Space Camp® launched in 1982 to inspire and motivate young people from around the country to join the ranks of space pioneers who persevere to push the boundaries of human exploration. Today, with attendees from all 50 states, territories and more than 60 foreign countries, the immersive program continues to challenge young people to dream of a future in space.
With the U.S. Space & Rocket Center® as home base, trainees have an unparalleled environment to spur imagination. Historic space, aviation and defense hardware, along with exhibits that highlight current and future programs help Space Camp trainees transcend from, “What if?” to “Can do!” Space Camp alumni include NASA and ESA astronauts, engineers, scientists and technologists.
Static displays and unique settings provide excellent areas for classroom instruction while hands-on training, high fidelity simulations and enthusiastic crew trainers ignite the sizzle of Space Camp. Teamwork, leadership, decision-making: from mission control to space transport to space station, trainees gain personal and professional insights that profoundly impact their futures.
Space Camp is the brainchild of rocket scientist, Dr. Wernher von Braun. Von Braun led propulsion activities that launched the Apollo-era U.S. manned space program and envisioned an aggressive schedule for America’s space-bound pioneers. Von Braun, then director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, reasoned there should be an experience for young people who were excited about space. Under the guidance of Edward O. Buckbee, the first director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Space Camp was born.
Camps are available for fourth grade through high school-age students. Additional programs are offered for trainees who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing and those who have other special needs. Space Camp programs are also available for adults, educators, corporate groups and families. Family programs may include children as young as seven years old.
Space Camp has attracted more than 750,000 trainees since its inception.
Thank You NDAB!

My name is Tevon Crawford. I would so much like to thank the North Dakota Association for donating $1,000.00 to sponsor me and some of the other children to go to Space Camp this last fall. You will never know how much I totally appreciate this gesture. This was probably one of the best experiences I have ever had in my entire 11 years. Thank you again!
Tevon Earl Crawford

Just to add in a statement, from a grandma – this was the most awesome trip my grandson has ever taken. Not only did he get to go and participate in space camp, but he went without any family. I saw a lot of maturity in Tevon since he has been home from camp, and I asked if he would go again. his answer, “Oh yeah,” so I know this was a thrilling and worthwhile trip for him. Thank you so much for helping with this donation and making it possible for this small group of folks here in Montana to make it to space camp. I know they all loved it and appreciate it.
Thank you again!
Susan Crawford

My name is Brandon Walker, and I would like to thank the North Dakota Association of the Blind for their generous donation of $1,000.00 to send me to Advanced Space Academy and to send two other Montanans, Carter and Cassidy, to Mach III Aviation challenge and one final Montanan, Tevon, to Space Camp. We all had a great time. Tevon said that he enjoyed the robotics and the rocket launch that he did. Carter and Cassidy enjoyed zip lining and taking part in a simulation where they were piloting fighter jets. I also enjoyed zip lining as well as robotics, team activities, and scuba diving. According to Becky Monroe, the person who encouraged me to go to Advanced Space Academy, I was the first blind/low vision student she had that decided to scuba dive. Also, this experience gave me an hour of college credit, so colleges will see that and it will boost my chances to get into one. Thank you all for your donation, and thank you for the experience it gave me one final time. The next time I go will be as a chaperone encouraging other students to try new things.

Brandon Walker

Members of our NDAB Family

Submitted by Kathy Larson

It is with much sadness and heartfelt sympathy to my sister Karlyn and family that I include the following: Ray Delwyn Frantsen was born into earthly life on August 21, 1972 to Elton and Karlyn Frantsen of Voltaire, ND. He departed this life on November 4, 2016 at Trinity Hospital in Minot, ND, following a valiant battle against cancer. Ray started farming with his dad at a very young age. He had a love for the land and all things tractor. He so enjoyed Spring’s work, harvest, and everything in between. Immediately following graduation from high school, he joined a custom combining crew, heading south, harvesting their way back North. In 1992 he received a Welding Certification from NDSCS in Wahpeton. Ray started trucking and eventually owned his own company, Frantsen Trucking, seeing much of the United States from behind the wheel of his 18-wheeler. His love for the land and farming led him back home where he purchased and worked the Frantsen family farm. On July 29, 2000, Ray married the love of his life, DeAnna Spear. They moved to Velva with DeAnna’s daughter, Micayla. Two more daughters, Rylee and Taryn, completed their family. Ray adored all his girls and could usually be seen with at least one of them. He was a hands-on daddy and loved attending their activities and events. His presence in the lives of his family and community is deeply missed, but his legacy of love and laughter will live on forever, along with the memory of his ever-present gentle smile and spot-on sense of humor. If you wish to send a word to Karlyn and Elton, their address is: 3066 10th Ave N, Voltaire ND 58792-9270.

We extend sympathy to Loris Van Berkom on the death of her sister-in-law Pearl Van Berkom Helgeson Simlik of Fullerton, California, formerly of Powers Lake. Pearl died on November 18, 2016 in a Fullerton Nursing Care Facility. Pearl’s hobbies and interests included dancing, playing bridge and traveling. Her family was very important to her.

We have lost another NDAB member. Many of you will remember Irene Nelson and the times spent together with her at our NDAB Summer Camp. What a beautiful lady she was! It has been some years since she attended as a camper, but she and Lyle visited the camp last summer, coming for the banquet and weekend. Little did we know then that we’d not see her again. We extend our deepest sympathy to Lyle. Irene passed away peacefully in Arvada, Colorado, on December 22, 2016. She was the daughter of Omer and Gladys Muir of Inkster, ND. She is survived by her husband, Lyle Nelson, Arvada, CO, and children Dwight and Craig Swavee, Grand Forks, ND, Carla Valentine, Corona, CA, Omer Swavee, Arvada, CO, and Blane Nelson, Westminster, CO. She is also survived by her nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Irene was preceded in death by her parents and sister, Mina Ferry and her first husband Arlo Swavee.
Memorials can be made to the North Dakota Association of the Blind,
Should you like to send Lyle a card, his address is:
8247 Ames Way, Arvada, CO 80003

We have lost yet another NDAB member. Stephen Lommen Skjei, 69, a longtime resident of Bettendorf, IA and Williston, ND, passed away suddenly on Saturday, January 7, 2017, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Steve, the second of four children, was born September 18, 1947, in Grand Forks, and grew up in Williston. He graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Minor in Mathematics and earned a graduate certificate from the University of Arkansas in Information Technology. Steve recently celebrated 37 years of marriage with his lovely wife, I. Barbara Skjei. Steve was an avid reader and engaging conversationalist, but he is best remembered for his kindness to others and love of his family. Steve volunteered at North Dakota Association of the Blind (Summer Camp in 2013) where, among other things, he taught Thai Chi. He recently returned to Bettendorf, IA, after caring for his father in Williston for several years. Steve was delighted to meet his youngest grandchild born in October 2016. Steve was a beloved son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. Preceding him in death is his mother, Avis Skjei. Stephen is survived by his wife, four children, two stepchildren, two grandchildren, his father Donald Skjei of Williston, his three siblings and families. When Steve’s sister called to tell of his death, she reminded me how much Steve loved numbers. Date and time of his death: 1-7-17-7:01
Barb Skjei’s address is: 2695 Rosehill Ave, Bettendorf IA 56722.

Many of you know Char and Rick Feldman, and I know that several of you have been, and still are “prayer warriors” for the family. Char’s brother Bob has been very sick, spending months in the hospital. Thanks to Char for sharing the following with us what has been going on in their lives.

“Everything Changes When You See Challenges as Blessings”

2016 was an incredible year of highs and lows, fears and opportunities, sickness and healing – all wrapped together as challenges and blessings. My brother, Bob, had a double lung transplant July 21 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Here is his story.

It started in 2013 when Bob was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary disease. It is a diagnosis that essentially means “you have bad lungs and we don’t know why.” The only cure is a lung transplant and his pulmonary doctor at Minneapolis, from the first visit there, would say every visit, “We need to keep a lung transplant on the table, Bob.” However, none of us really believed it would ever come to that. How do you actually, really, sincerely plan for a lung transplant? I don’t know.

In February, 2016 Bob contacted pneumonia. It got severe and life threatening fast and within a few days of being admitted to ICU in Fargo, he required a respirator to breathe. As time went on and he wasn’t recovering as they hoped, he had a tracheotomy and a feeding tube inserted. He remained in ICU until the middle of March, when he was transferred to a transitional care facility in Fargo.

Their goal was to wean Bob from the respirator, which eventually happened. He was discharged the last week in May and enjoyed about a week at home until he collapsed June 5th and was re-admitted to the hospital. On June 9th, he was flown to Minneapolis and began the workup for a lung transplant.

The transplant process is a roller coaster of events. More than once, he was told about potential lungs, but then the donor lungs would have an issue and Bob’s doctors would not accept the lungs. One time, he even got as far as the preop holding area, only to be brought back to his room. There is more than tissue typing, etc. when you are being matched for lungs. They need to “fit” your chest cavity, as lungs are not a “one size fits all,” like other organs. Also, the medical history of the donor plays a significant role in the acceptance of the lungs for transplant.

Early in the morning of July 21, Bob got the notice that lungs were on their way! The surgery took a long time, and was a little extra complicated as they could not close Bob’s chest. They had to bring him back to ICU overnight with his chest open and then prepare him for surgery the next day to close his chest. That was done successfully the next day but his postop course remained rocky for quite awhile.

Once again, my brother was on a respirator, had a tracheotomy but this time – also had a lot of other equipment. He had three chest tubes in each lung; I can’t tell you how many IV’s and monitoring lines. It took two respiratory therapists and four nurses to turn Bob. I tell you this, not to shock or bore you, but so you can appreciate how far Bob has come.

My brother has survived and was discharged home the week of Thanksgiving due in large part to the large group of “prayer warriors” everywhere. I can’t even begin to list how many friends, relatives and strangers were praying for our family. I can’t even begin to say “thank you” enough. I know many NDAB friends are in the list of those we are indebted to and so please know – my family is so proud to be part of NDAB. Bob’s journey of life with new lungs is looking hopeful; he has a lot of healing yet to do but with God’s grace and your good thoughts – we are saying hello to 2017! God Bless….

Think Summer

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman
As we are in the dead of winter with huge mountains of snow everywhere, it is hard to think that summer will really come but it will. Plans for the 2017 NDAB Summer Camp are underway. The camp dates are August 6-13. We have some ideas for new classes but we are always willing to entertain more suggestions. The banquet theme is “In the Garden” so start thinking of a fun costume to wear. In the meantime, keep warm and mark your calendars for camp.

Elks Camp Grassick to Participate in Giving Hearts Day

Elks Camp Grassick, the host site for the NDAB summer camp, has the opportunity to raise a tremendous amount of money for its programs on Thursday, February 9, 2017. 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 9th, go to, or, 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 $63,000 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 37,139 donations to 326 charities and causes in North Dakota and western Minnesota. The $8.3 million raised in 2016 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 2017 calendars and on Thursday, February 9th go online and give generously from your heart to Elks Camp Grassick and other worthy charities in your area. New 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. 9, 2017” with the memo “Giving Hearts Day” will also qualify as a GHD Contribution.

Donations and Memorials

NDAB has received the following donations and memorials during the past quarter:

American State Bank – Williston
Delores Rath
Connie Ertelt
Jean Cote
Total Donations: $612.50

Ruth & Robert Geske, Shereen & Elton Faber in memory of Ruth Pueppke
Ruth Phalen and Rom Thielman in memory of Norie Ohnstad
Shereen & Elton Faber, Renae Huseby, Helen & Dennis Baumgartner in memory of Ray Frantsen
Rom Thielman in memory of Jeff Sorenson
Stan & Kathy Larson, Carol Schmitt, Paula Anundson, Renae Huseby in memory of Irene Nelson
Carol Schmitt in memory of Deloris Stenvold
Total Memorials: $240

Total Donations & Memorials: $852.50

Helen Baumgartner, NDAB Treasurer

Please make that New Year’s Resolution to “Step Out for NDAB”!

By Allan Peterson, NDAB Development Director

Although it’s very cold outside, it’s a great time to begin to think and make your plans for the 2017 Walk for NDAB!! The projected date for our 2017 NDAB Walk is Saturday, April 29th; however, the time, date, and location of each Walk will be dependent on arrangements that can be made by each local Walk coordinator.

As always we would like to hold a Walk in as many North Dakota communities as is possible – last year’s cities that held walks were Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and Williston. We, of course, would like to retain and add many more communities to this list, so if you have an interest in “Stepping Out for NDAB,” please get in touch with me. My phone numbers are (701) 282-4644 at home and my cell number is (701) 429-7209. Or send me a message via Email – my address is

Our annual NDAB “Walk for Vision” serves as our major fund raiser for the year so I truly hope that we can recruit as many of you to help and participate as is possible. It’s a perennial goal to make every year’s walk better than the previous one! So, let’s Go Go Team NDAB!”

NDAB to Participate in the 2017 “Giving Hearts Day” Event

By Allan Peterson, NDAB Development Director

Hear ye Valentine’s Giving Hearts, this year for the first time ever, North Dakota Association of the Blind will be among the many charitable organizations that have been authorized to participate in this one day only, on-line fund raising event! Giving Hearts Day is strictly an on-line appeal that was initiated and led by the Impact Giveback Foundation which is a part of the Dakota Medical Foundation that’s based in Fargo.

This year’s 2017 “Giving Hearts Day” is the 10th such event conducted to benefit the work of many worthy causes, like North Dakota Association of the Blind. Giving Hearts Day has become an ever and ever larger event throughout its 10-year history, that now includes not only organizations in our Fargo-Moorhead community, but has expanded its outreach to help hundreds of worthy charitable causes throughout our state and region. Camp Grassick, for example, has benefited greatly by its participation in this fund-raising event.

Our initial NDAB “Giving Heart’s Day” challenge this year will be to raise $4000 prior to the event itself which is to create our own match and then to secure $2500 in on-line donations on the day of the event. I’m quite certain that we will be able to raise the $4000 prior to the Day, which is designated to be on Thursday, February 9th. Next, we then will need to convince 100 or so donors to make an on-line donation that averages $25 per donor. It’s true that this is a greater challenge for a smaller non-profit organization like NDAB that has no paid staff – but, it’s my opinion, what we may lack in this regard; we can more than make up for with our spirit and dedication!

On February 9 to make a secure online contribution to NDAB, go to and click on the Giving Hearts Day “Learn More/Donate” button and select North Dakota Association of the Blind from among those charities that are listed. The allowable giving period will begin at 12:01 A.M. Thursday morning, February 9th and will end at midnight that same day. This is strictly a one-day opportunity to double your gift! So, on February 9th go to and select North Dakota Association of the Blind from among the list of charities that are listed as beneficiaries of this appeal.

FYI: All on-line donations on February 9 must at least be $10 to qualify as a match, donations less than $10 won’t count. All donations are eligible for a tax deduction.

Over time, “Giving Hearts Day” has attracted more and more media attention, so it has created a lot of free publicity for organizations who choose to participate. Also, it’s quite appealing to tech savvy people who find the convenience of making an on-line donation very attractive. Need to know more? Contact me.

Candy’s Corner

In this issue, I’d like to tell you about the new gadget my son got me for Christmas. It’s called the Amazon Echo Dot, and I like it! First I need to explain that there is a device called the Amazon Echo, and then there is the Amazon Echo Dot. The difference is that the original Echo is larger (about the size and shape of a soda can), and has more capabilities then the Echo Dot, mainly the 360-degree sound. It’s also considerably more expensive than the Echo Dot, like over a hundred dollars more. But if you are really into the 360-degree sound thing, then you may prefer the Amazon Echo. For me, the Echo Dot does everything I want it to do and more.

What does it do, you may ask. Well, the Echo Dot is entirely voice-activated. In other words, you control it entirely with your voice. You need to preface each request with the word Alexa. For instance, you can say “Alexa, what time is it?” and the Dot responds with the current time. You can ask “What time is it in Hong Kong?” and the Dot will answer correctly. Other types of questions you can ask include what is the temperature in your location, or in other locations around the world; how to spell a specific word; the definition of a specific word; various types of math problems; where the nearest restaurants are; what is the latest news; and many, many more. You can ask the Dot general knowledge questions such as What is the largest country in the world, or who is the first person to circumnavigate the earth; sports trivia and current sports info, such as When do the Vikings play next, or who won the game between the Spurs and the Pistons. The Dot also reads books from Audible and Kindle, once you have downloaded and paid for them. You can use the Dot as an appointment calendar and set alarms using the Dot as well. The Dot can be used as a timer, too. One of the coolest things the Dot does is play music on request. You can request a particular genre of music, such as “Alexa, play classical music,” or Alexa, play 60’s music.” You can also request a particular artist, such as “Alexa, play the Beatles,” or “Alexa, play Willie Nelson.” You can request a particular song, but sometimes these need to be purchased from iTunes. Another skill that Alexa possesses, and which I enjoy a lot, is playing various internet radio stations from around the world. You can say, “Alexa, play WDAY radio,” or Alexa, play BBC World Service.” These are all free. You need to be connected to wifi for most of these functions. And a smart phone is useful for downloading the Alexa app.

The only drawback that I have discovered with the Echo Dot so far is that it needs to be plugged into an outlet since it is “always on.” It is the size and shape of a hockey puck, so very portable, and it can be connected to wifi in different locations, so you could bring it with you to work or on vacation. It just needs to be plugged in and connected to wifi. The cost, which is only $49.99, is very reasonable for such a fun and handy device. And speaking of fun, I forgot to mention all the many types of games that can be played using the Echo Dot! For more information about the Amazon Echo Dot, just visit<> and do a search for Amazon Echo Dot. I’d be interested to hear if any of you buy an Echo or an Echo Dot and what you think of it. I personally use mine every day and love it.

Dining in the Dark

By Janelle Olson, Chairperson

The last time you heard from me on this topic, we were a few short days away from NDAB’s first “Dining in the Dark” event held in Minot on Thursday, October 13th. Our Past President Mark Kueffler had been approached several months prior by Perry Olson, a member of the Minot Lions Club. That Lions group had heard of an event where awareness of vision loss was highlighted through the experience of eating a meal without seeing. The long and the short of it is they were excited, we got excited, and after much planning by the Minot Lions Club in coordination with NDAB, it happened!

Seventy-six people shared a wonderful five course meal at the Elevation Restaurant including an NDAB member or board member serving as the guide at each table throughout the meal after each diner’s blindfold was in place. It was hoped through this event that the diners would take with them the recognition of NDAB as a source of information and support to anyone in ND who is experiencing sight loss. I believe this occurred. The message we shared through this unique dining experience was one of hope and encouragement in conquering what might appear to be impossible to someone who is newly experiencing sight loss. The conversational buzz around each table and questions generated by the simple act of putting on a blindfold was amazing.

Thank you, Minot Lions, for choosing NDAB as your partner on this project. It is our hope that similar events can be replicated around the state with other Lions Clubs. Your big-hearted generosity in arranging our hotel accommodations and making NDAB the financial recipient of the proceeds is overwhelming and we are truly grateful.

Facebook Announcement

By Whitney Engbrecht

Some of you Facebookers may have noticed that NDAB now has a Facebook page. If you are a Facebook user and haven’t liked our page, please do and invite your family and friends to like it too. Our goal is to reach more people through this social media while following our mission statement: We strive to enhance the way of life for people who are blind or visually impaired, to encourage employment opportunities, and to educate the public about sight loss. NDAB will be able to pursue these three visions not only in North Dakota, but outside of North Dakota as well. How can you help, might you ask? It all begins with you! Start by liking the NDAB page at and then send out invites to your family and friends.

Wait, that’s not the end of it! To keep up with what’s happening on the NDAB Facebook page, you have to interact with our posts by a like, leaving a comment, or by sharing. Doing one of these three will guarantee that our postings will show up in your current newsfeed. Now that everyone is now aware of our new Facebook page, let’s see if we can get over a hundred likes on our page.

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 2017 NDAB Membership Renewal form and dues payment of $15.00, please do so. The deadline for dues payment was 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 it, please give me a call or E-mail me.
Mary Stip, Membership Chair (701) 839-4138

NDAB Convention Coming to Devils Lake

Mark your calendars and reserve the time to come to the 81st annual NDAB Convention on June 9-11, 2017. It will be held at the Great American Inn in Devils Lake, ND. We have lots of great events planned for our convention. We will start out with a Friday afternoon session with presentations on nutrition, vision loss and a fairly new vision aid, along with introduction of all vendors.

“Spice Up Your Life” is our theme, encouraging us to make the most of our opportunities! In line with this, our guest speaker for the banquet, Diane Peyerl, will tell us of some of the challenges she has met over the years. Look for your Call to the Convention letter this spring. Join us and “Spice Up Your Life!”

Carol Schmitt, Convention Chair
Grace Sharbono and Carmen Suminski, Committee Members

Legislative Working Committee

By Janelle Olson

Each Friday afternoon from 3:15 to 4:45 during the weeks of the ND Legislative Session, interested citizens from around the state meet to review and discuss upcoming, proposed legislation of interest to people with disabilities. The Legislative Working Committee (LWC) is sponsored by The North Dakota Protection and Advocacy Project and is conducted via Interactive Video Network (IVN) at eleven sites throughout the State.
The sites are as follows:
Williston – Williston State College – Stevens Hall 120
Minot – Minot State University – Administration 359
Devils Lake – Lake Region State College – Administration 172
Belcourt – Turtle Mountain Community College – Room 209
Grand Forks – University of North Dakota – Gamble 130
Grafton – Life Skills & Transition Center
Fargo – North Dakota State University – EML 183
Wahpeton – North Dakota State College of Science – Library 117
Jamestown – North Dakota State Hospital – Learning Resource Center
Bismarck – Protection and Advocacy Project
Dickinson – Dickinson State University – Kleinfelter 22

Come and check it out. For further information, call the state Protection and Advocacy Office at 1-800-472-2670.

Need Money to Attend College?

See below for available scholarships!

NDAB Scholarships:
The North Dakota Association of the Blind scholarships are granted annually to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate students who are blind or vision impaired with plans to attend an institution of higher learning. One $2,000 and two $1,000 cash awards will be given to three qualifying students.
In addition, a vocational scholarship of $1,000 is awarded to a vision impaired student with plans to attend a vocational or trade school.
Previous applicants and recipients of our scholarships are encouraged to reapply so we may financially support your efforts toward achieving gainful employment.
To apply, you must have a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with prescription glasses or contacts, be a resident of ND or reside in a border city such as Grand Forks – East Grand Forks.
For complete guidelines and application, please see  Applications must be received by March15.  For more information, contact our scholarship chairperson:  Tracy Wicken Phone 701-772-7669 or Email

ACB Scholarships:
The American Council of the Blind annually awards approximately 20 scholarships ranging in amounts from $1,000 to $2,500 to entering freshmen, undergraduate and graduate college students who are legally blind, maintain a 3.3 GPA and are involved in their school/local community. To read the scholarship guidelines and complete an on-line application, please visit

CCLVI Scholarships:
The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) annually awards three scholarships in the amount of $3,000 each to one full-time entering freshman, undergraduate and graduate college student who are low vision, maintain a strong GPA and are involved in their school and local community.  The application process opens January 1 at 12:01am eastern and the materials must be received by March 1 at 11:59pm eastern.  Scholarship funds will be awarded for the upcoming 2017 – 2018 academic year. To read the scholarship guidelines and complete an online application, please visit

Blind Art Lovers Make the Best of Museum Visits

Dorlyn Catron’s cane is making its radio debut today — its name is Pete. (“He’s important to my life. He ought to have a name,” she says.)

Read the full article at

Audio Description Dates for FMCT and Tin Roof Theatre

January 2017:
FMCT (Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre) Box office at 701-235-6778
“Other Desert Cities” by Jon Robin
Saturday January 28, 2017 – 7:30 p.m. show (AD preshow at 7:10 p.m.)
Taking place in Palm Springs around Christmas 2004, a young woman returns home to write a memoir that will resurface he painful memories of her brother’s suicide.

February 2017:
“A Year with Frog & Toad”–a musical by Robert & Willie Reale
*By request, either Saturday February 11 or 18 – show starts at 6 p.m.
(AD preshow at 5:40 p.m.)
This musical, based on the Frog & Toad children’s stories, brought professional children’s theatre to Broadway.  It follows the woodland adventures of the cheerful Frog and the rather grumpy Toad as they learn life lessons over four fun-filled seasons.

March 2017:
Tin Roof Theatre (a guest theatre at The Stage at Island Park, the home of FMCT) – same box office at 701-235-6778
“Plaza Suite” by Neil Simon
Saturday March 18 – 7:30 p.m. show (AD preshow at 7:10 p.m.)
Simon’s hilarious comedy revolves around 3 couples successively occupying Suite 719 at the Plaza – a couple whose marriage is in tatters, a Hollywood producer & his childhood sweetheart, and the parents of a nervous bride trying to get her out of the locked bathroom in time for her own wedding.

April 2017:
FMCT production
“Almost Maine” by John Cariani
Friday April 7 – 7:30 p.m. show (AD preshow at 7:10 p.m.)
As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in & out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways in 9 tales of love, loss, & renewal.

May 2017:
FMCT musical
“Billy Elliot The Musical” (music by Elton John)
Saturday May 6 – 7:30 p.m. show (AD preshow at 7:10 p.m.)
This Tony award-winning Broadway smash dance musical extravaganza follows Billy, who recently lost his mother & trades in his boxing gloves to study dance in secret, setting his sights on the Royal Ballet.

iOS Apps

Below is a link to a very complete list of iOS apps that have been developed specifically for the blind or people with low vision. Utilizing the potential of Apple’s iDevices, these apps are intended to assist with everyday tasks, increase independence and generally make things easier. The list does not include games, as it is intended to highlight those apps which offer functionality and features that are not available from mainstream apps.
Here are just a couple of examples of the apps that you can find:

Blindfold Greeting Card
Submitted by Tunmi Jubril on 20 August, 2016 – 15:07
• Social Networking
Description of App:
Blindfold Greeting Card is a fully accessible e-card app for sending audio cards to your friends and family.
A greeting card is created by first selecting a sound effect, and then recording yourself saying something. After both steps are done, prepare and listen to the card to make sure you like it, and then send the card. Cards can be sent via email, text message, Facebook, twitter or any other social networking app that your phone may have.
You can choose from hundreds of sound effects when designing your greeting card.
Blindfold Greeting Card comes with the ability for you to send 10 cards. After those are used up, you can purchase upgrades for create and send more cards.

Braigo Companion
Submitted by Dawn on 30 November, 2016 – 14:07 and last modified on 1 December, 2016 – 15:09
• Utilities
Description of App:
Ever been tagged in a post with a meme & not been able to read it? Ever come across a menu that’s not registered in a menu app such as AllAccess? Enter Braigo Companion! This knew first-of-it’s kind app will read photos, & describe the photo as well as read the text! You can take a screenshot of the photo & upload it to Braigo, share the photo either directly from the social media app, or upload them directly from your photos app.
You can also copy & paste the URL. of an image into the URL. Uploader and Braigo will download the image, describe it and read the text!
You can also upload files from Dropbox for easy reading!
Braigo supports the following file formats: Jepeg, PNG, PDF., DOC., and DOCX.
This app can also be used as an RSS. Reader. Copy and paste the RSS. Feed URL. and you’re done.
You can share the meme or photo within Braigo & print it. Braigo will save your uploads as well and allow you to browse them at any time.
If you have a problem you can use the chat option within the app & get en touch with their tech support team & get your questions answered. They also have an FAQ. in the app that gets questions that people have asked within the chat.
You can also look at other people’s uploads too. This app works great with memes & regular photos.

Legislative Report Winter 2017

By Allan Peterson

As the old adage says, “there’s a new sheriff in town.” This perhaps best describes what happened as a consequence of last November’s nationwide general election that brought a new president into the White House and a new governor into the North Dakota governor’s office in Bismarck. Elections do have consequences and it would appear at this juncture that this certainly is the case, with Republicans now having control of the Presidency and continuing to maintain their majorities both in the U.S. Senate and House.

A similar partisan vent is reflected in North Dakota state politics. As a consequence of November’s election, Republicans now have an even greater majority of the elected offices in state government with an 81 to 13 advantage in the House and a 9 to 38 advantage in the State Senate and continue to hold every statewide elected executive office.

Some say that it doesn’t matter which political party is in control of the reins of government. They would argue that the results are much the same regardless of who is in charge. As a political junkie, I cannot agree. While it’s quite true that there’s a fair number of bills where there is general consensus, on others, opinions dramatically differ. If you spend any time listening to the news media in the coming months, you will likely be well apprised of a variety of political differences because a new political season has begun. The 65th session of the North Dakota Legislature has convened and the U.S. Congress has just opened its 115th session!

The 65th Session of The North Dakota Legislature convened on Tuesday, January 3rd. The administration of outgoing Governor Jack Dalrymple prepared the proposed biennial 2017-2019 governor’s budget that was officially presented to the Legislature. The governor’s budget will serve as the template that the Legislature will be using to accept and/or modify to help determine how state spending will be allocated during the upcoming 2017 – 2019 biennium. Newly elected Governor Doug Burgum will also have a lot of influence on just how the final budget outcome is determined.

Partisanship aside, it must be stressed, that above all else, we, as advocates, need to be strictly nonpartisan in our approach to promote legislation that can benefit people who are blind and visually impaired. Advocating for appropriations is a big part of our advocacy work. The committees on appropriations are always the busiest during any legislative session. This will be particularly true during this session because of the significant projected reduction in revenue that’s been forecasted for the state treasury during the next biennium.

During last summer’s NDAB Convention in Williston, we adopted 2 resolutions that dealt with appropriations that will be addressed by this session of the Legislature.

One of these resolutions dealt with the state appropriation request for North Dakota Vision Services / School for the Blind (NDVS/SB). Like all state budget requests the NDVS/SB budget request has been modified to reflect the reality of less projected revenue in the state treasury. Despite this reality, it’s hoped that the need for mobility and orientation training in western North Dakota could somehow be addressed during this upcoming biennium.

A second resolution was adopted to advocate for an increased appropriation for public transit services that operate in North Dakota. It’s fortunate that there is a strong coalition of transit providers that have been established for transit advocacy in North Dakota and that we can continue to add our voices to theirs to advocate for more dollars for public, non-profit transit services throughout the state.

Because blindness rehabilitation services are so critically important to gain and maintain independence, we will also be advocating for base funding that’s required to insure the future viability of the Older Blind Program. We will need to remind our legislative representatives in each of our home districts just how important this program is to so many people who experience sight loss as our population continues to age.

On the federal political scene, the 115th session of the U.S. Congress has also just convened. Our state’s congressional delegation didn’t change as Kevin Kramer was successful in his bid to be reelected to the U.S. House of Representatives and John Hoeven was easily reelected to the U. S. Senate. Senator Heidi Heitkamp wasn’t up for election. Zelda and I will be visiting each of the North Dakota congressional offices when we make our trip as a part of the American Council of the Blind’s 2017 Legislative Seminar on February 27th & 28th. Given the huge political change in Washington D.C., it will be particularly interesting to determine what strategies we might employ to do our advocacy work in this new political environment.

The next four months on the advocacy scene will be particularly active ones and we will be trying hard to keep abreast of happenings both at the Capitol in Bismarck and Washington D.C. The need for advocacy never really goes away! I challenge each of you to get to know who your legislators are because you could very well be in a position to help us with our advocacy work and that would be a very good thing! If you have any questions or wish to help, PLEASE let us know!

Which Direction Are You Looking?

Reprinted with permission from Steve Goodier

Newscaster Paul Harvey once related a story about a woman from Michigan who vacationed in Florida. She found a secluded spot on the roof of her hotel to soak up a few rays of sunshine, and in order to get a “total” tan, she removed all her clothing. Within a half-hour the hotel manager was beside her insisting that she cover up. She argued that nobody was in sight. He agreed. Problem was – she was stretched out over the hotel skylight.
It occurs to me that the hotel’s problems began because somebody was looking up! Which normally is an excellent thing to do. At least in attitude. But what a surprise lay in store that day for those beneath the skylight.
As you know, some folks spend their lives looking down. Downcast in spirit, they hang their heads and lead negative and joyless lives. Frankly, it’s a difficult way to live.
Others are constantly looking out. They live in fear and watch vigilantly for problems, real or imaginary, that threaten their happiness. Because they are risk-averse, they seldom challenge themselves to grow and rarely make a difference in life.
Still others seem always to be looking around. Forever searching for a better partner, a better job or a better deal, they keep a watchful eye out and seldom experience a lasting commitment.

And others yet can be found too-often looking back. They believe their best days are behind them and they have no hope for the future. They can’t fully enjoy today because their eyes are on yesterday.
But a few vibrant folks are usually found looking up. These resilient individuals have learned how to look beyond problems to solutions; beyond discouragement to hope. Their positive attitude draws others in. They see the good because they look for it. They are encouragers and, at times, their hopeful attitude inspires those around them.

For people who learn the habit of looking up, the payoff is usually satisfaction and joy. As Earl Nightingale correctly stated, “Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us.”

You can tell a lot about a person simply by noticing which direction they are inclined to look. Do they look down? Or do they look out? Maybe they are often found looking around or looking back. But there will always be some who will look up, no matter which direction others may face.

The better question to ask is, which way will you look?

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