The Promoter May 2016

Official Publication of the North Dakota Association of the Blind

Available in four formats: large print, e-mail, braille and cartridge
Editor: Kathy Larson

Not they who lack sight, but they who lack vision are blind.

“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.”

Table of Contents

Greeting from the President

“Team NDAB”
Wow! Time does fly doesn’t it. I can still remember sitting down to write my first article as president of NDAB, and now it seems, all of a sudden I am writing my last article as president. As in my first article, I am extremely honored for the opportunity to serve and follow in the footsteps of so many great NDAB presidents and board members. I can only hope that in some small way I have helped to continue their legacy and create a pathway for future NDAB members to love and enjoy this organization as much as I do.
From the first time I addressed the convention as president and every convention since, to all board meetings and several articles, I have stressed two main themes I believe are critical to NDAB’s future. Yes, you guessed it: respect and communication.
“Respect & Communication”

When I first sat down to write this article I used up several pages, so I have significantly shortened it; hopefully this will portray how seriously I take this subject. The first question some may ask is, “Mark, why do you feel so strongly about this subject?” Well, I would like to answer that question with a question. What happens if there is a lack of respect and communication or none at all? Sort of a loaded question isn’t it? Personally, it reminds me of Congress, but, some words and phrases that may come to mind are: rudeness, disregard, disrespect, insecurity, anger, someone gets hurt, someone looks like a fool, no work gets done, leads to chaos, and my thesaurus describes this as “absence of intelligence.” Mmm… not so good. Most of us have experienced this first hand; I know I have and admittedly am guilty of causing situations like this at one time or another. But regardless, lack of respect and communication can tear apart not only our own lives and relationships, but can and has torn apart governments, communities, families, friends and yes, organizations. That is why this is so important to me.

The next question is, “Mark, so how do we ensure respect and communication are an active part in our organization?” Not such an easy defined answer to this one. No dictionary or thesaurus will give us that answer. Likely hundreds of books, maybe more, have been written addressing these very issues, whose authors are much more knowledgeable than I. But, I feel strongly that a large part of the answer is that it takes action by all of us.

“Action, what kind of action?” you ask. Well, before I answer that question, I feel it is necessary to give you a cold hard truth: that reality is conflict is also a part of our lives each day. How we handle or respond to that conflict is what will make the difference. To answer the question above about what action steps can we all take to ensure respect and communication? The action steps or traits I am referring to are learning, practicing and developing some of the following core skills including, but not limited to: flexibility, patience, understanding, mindfulness, objectivity, perseverance, open mindedness, self-restraint, being present in moment and conversation, good listening skills, and my personal favorite is Faith. I think all of these are huge, and among all of these behavioral or action terms or phrases, I think learning, practicing, and developing “faith” plays the most important role. As humans we must learn or develop the capacity to recognize, understand, manage and express our own emotions in an effort to communicate in a manner others will positively respond to. We all have a common thread that brings us together-sight loss. Not all of us are going to get along and that’s ok, because thankfully we all have different personalities, ideas and ways to express ourselves. To learn, practice and develop these traits will by no means guarantee respect or communication skills, but I can assure you these behaviors can and will help maintain this idea of respect and communication in all parts of one’s life.
“Creating the Future Today, Together!”

Eighty years! Eighty years! NDAB is eighty years young; this is a great accomplishment! Can you imagine the thoughts and dreams of our founding members and how excited they would be to see the organization they started in that small room in Jamestown so many years ago still growing today? I would love to shake each of their hands and give them all a big hug and say thank you! Wouldn’t you? As founding members, they had to ask themselves a similar question that we may ask today, “What does the future have to hold for NDAB?” Our charter members had no more idea of what the future would hold for NDAB anymore than we do, but what did they do right that we can do to ensure this great organization can continue for generations of future NDAB members to love and enjoy as we do? I will tell you! By believing like I do; “Creating the Future Today, Together!” No surprises, right? But, think about it. Where would we be today if they didn’t? Would we still exist? I don’t know, but I do know that by creating our future today, we can, to the best of our ability, ensure a future exists for NDAB members tomorrow and for generations to come. You need only to believe and dream as those before us have done.

Have Faith my friends, I will still be here among you, participating, supporting and defending if necessary this great NDAB family and organization that I love so much. I felt it was appropriate to end the way I started this journey as president, with a slightly paraphrased quote from President Abraham Lincoln as he stood on the platform of the train as he addressed a small gathering of supporters. “My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man.” Here friendships have been born, and many dear friends we have buried. “I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
Be well my friends,
“Creating our Future, Today, Together”
Mark L. Kueffler, President

Note from the Editor

In the February issue of the Promoter, I wrote that I would like to see fewer number of print copies by the May issue, and here we are!

My words then were: If you currently receive a braille copy of the Promoter, you will continue to receive this from Grand Forks. If you have been receiving the Promoter on cartridge or have recently requested a change from print to cartridge, you will still get the Promoter in this format from the ND State Library. For those of you receiving the newsletter in print and do not have an email address, you will continue to receive a print copy from me. According to the membership list that I have, there are several members who have email addresses and are receiving print copies of the Promoter. Unless I hear from you by the middle of April for the May Promoter, you will be getting the newsletter via email. Please contact me at

I did hear from some of you, but for those who did not contact me, just so you know why, you may be receiving the Promoter in a different format than what you usually receive.

Thanks again to those who sent in favorite quotes. Helen Baumgartner shared the following:
If you fail, never give up because F~A~I~L means “First Attempt In Learning”.
End is not the end. In fact, E~N~D means “Effort Never Dies”.
If you get no as an answer, remember N~O means “Next Opportunity”.
~Author Unknown

Loris Van Berkom sent in this one:
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

I like this one:
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Saint Augustin

Send me your favorites at or mail it to: 15225 59th St NW, Williston ND 58801-9560.

Kathy Larson, Promoter Editor

Welcome new NDAB members

NDAB extends a “welcome back” to Dawn Freemont of Max, ND.

2016 North Dakota Association of the Blind State Convention

“Welcome Home”

The convention planning committee cordially invites you to the Home Place Lodge & Suites in Williston for the NDAB State Convention. Activities and meetings will take place from Friday, June 10th through Sunday, June 12th.

A block of rooms has been reserved for NDAB. Room rates range from $65 to $95 plus 10% lodging tax. The Home Place was originally built as a senior living facility, so all of the rooms are suites. The bedrooms have one queen size bed and most suites have a hide-a-bed couch. Types of rooms include: studio, one bedroom with either mini kitchen or kitchenette, two bedrooms with either one or two bathrooms. The mini kitchens have a small fridge and microwave and the kitchenettes have a full size fridge, microwave and table and chairs. Every room has free Wi-Fi, Internet, iron, ironing board and hair dryer. The hotel has a fitness room but no pool. A complimentary breakfast buffet is offered daily. When you make your reservations, you may inquire about the different accommodations and prices. Please make your reservations by May 16th and be sure to indicate that you are coming for the NDAB convention. The phone number for the Home Place is 1-701-774-1179 or toll-free 855-881-6300.

When filling out your registration form, be sure to place check marks on the appropriate spaces on the lower part of the form. There will be random drawings for two $250 stipends for “first time” attendees. There will also be drawings for up to ten members to receive $100. To qualify for either of these drawings, your registration form must be marked appropriately and returned no later than Monday, May 16th. Notification of drawing results will be made May 18th so that you can finalize your convention plans.

The theme for the weekend is “Welcome Home,” celebrating 80 years of NDAB. Friday afternoon will begin with an informational session for the public from 2:00 to 4:00. Registration, vendor displays and the NDAB Executive Board meeting are scheduled from 4:00 to 6:00. A picnic provided by the Williston and Korner Lions Clubs will be served on site from 6:00 to 7:00. Several local legislators will be invited so you can visit with them and share your concerns regarding rights and needs of people in our state with vision loss. A seminar for new members will be held at 7:00. Events on Saturday will consist of the business meeting with the banquet to end the day. The Sunday morning memorial service will be followed by the reconvened business meeting.

The convention packets are being sent out in April, so if you did not receive one, or if you have questions, please call Loris Van Berkom, Convention Chairperson at 774-3399. Completed registration forms are due by May 16th. We are looking forward to a great convention.

See you in Williston on June 10th!
2016 NDAB Convention Committee

Notification of Stipends for the 2016 ACB Conference and Convention

The ACB Conference and Convention will be held in Minneapolis this year from July 1-9. If you are interested in attending, refer to your Braille Forum for details and registration information. NDAB is providing twenty $300 stipends for any member who would like to attend. Send a letter of request, e-mail message or telephone call to our NDAB treasurer prior to the first day of the state convention to be eligible to receive one of the stipends. The board will make final decisions during the post-convention board meeting. Requests made after the close of the state convention may not be considered.

Thank you NDAB Members

Last February 11th was a very big day for Elks Camp Grassick and many other nonprofit organizations throughout the state of North Dakota. The day was called “Giving Hearts Day” and on this special day, a 24 hour, online fundraiser was held to raise money for 326 different charities in North Dakota. Giving Hearts Day was sponsored by Dakota Medical Foundation, Impact Foundation, and the Alex Stern Family Foundation out of Fargo. On that day, there were 37,109 donations made to 326 charities and causes in North Dakota and western Minnesota. A grand total of $8.27 million was raised for these organizations to help them with their missions. Elks Camp Grassick, the host of NDAB’s summer camping session, was one of the charities selected to participate in this year’s Giving Hearts Day Fundraiser. Through the generosity of NDAB members and other friends and wonderful supporters of Elks Camp Grassick, the Camp was able to raise close to $63,000 in just this one day. How awesome it was to see so many individuals and organizations open their hearts and donate so generously to assist our mission and programs at Elks Camp Grassick. As the director of the Camp, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated and contributed to help make it such a huge success for us again this year. Thank you for your support and hope to see a lot of you this summer out at Camp. God Bless you all!

Dan Mimnaugh, Camp Director
Elks Camp Grassick

Members of Our NDAB Family

We extend our deepest sympathy to Robert Westermeyer on the death of his brother, Donald Westermeyer, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Donald passed away January 31, 2016 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Mary, their three children, his brothers David and Robert “Bob” and several nieces and nephews.

Elton Faber’s mother Nancy Faber of Kingman, Arizona, passed away unexpectedly on February 16, 2016. Her family is left with a hole in their hearts that can’t be filled. She was the matriarch of their family, and they were not ready to say goodbye. After her husband’s death in 2014, Nancy volunteered at White Cliffs Senior Living Center in Kingman, AZ, where she enjoyed visiting with the staff and residents at the Center; she hosted “Coffee with Nancy.” We extend our sympathy to Elton and Shereen Faber and families.
NDAB Members Paula Anundson and Connie Ertelt lost their 36 year old nephew/grandson Joshua Ertelt of Enderlin, ND, on February 26, 2016 as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Joshua was a skilled carpenter but could do almost anything, a true jack of all trades. He had a kind heart that he shared with his family and friends. His passing leaves a large void, but the friendship and love of those friends is a great consolation to his family. We extend our deepest sympathy to Paula and Connie.
Dale Hoppe has a new address. He moved to Wahpeton on March 1st and lives at 109 4th St S, Wahpeton ND 58075. He invited any of you to call him at (701) 936-5346 for a visit. He is working at the thrift shop in Wahpeton three days a week, and is planning to come to NDAB Summer Camp.

NDAB Member Marian Morris of Bismarck died March 13, 2016 at Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center in Bismarck at the age of 98. Marian was a long-time member of the Arnold Homemakers, Church of Saint Anne, the Farm Bureau, the State Historical Society, and the North Dakota Association of the Blind. She was a leader of the Arnold 4-H Club and a strong supporter of macular degeneration research. She worked as a volunteer at St. Alexius Hospital Gift Shop and was an auxiliary member for several years. She enjoyed entertaining, hosting family get-togethers, gardening, canning and freezing of fruits and vegetables. She was a fascinating story-teller, a writer of family history, and the center of her family unit.

Our long-time NDAB member and friend Doranna Robertson passed away on Palm Sunday, March 20, 2016 at Villa Maria Nursing Home at the age of 91. Doranna was born with limited vision and at the age of 7 she attended The School for the Blind at Bathgate, ND. She had fond memories of the years she spent there and made many lifelong friends including her future husband. She felt very privileged to be able to be at the boarding school and after graduation in 1945, she attended the University of North Dakota where she majored in Social Work, French and Music. After college she moved to Bismarck to take a job as a secretary at the state capitol. She married Lloyd Robertson on November 20, 1948 and continued working until the birth of their first child. Lloyd and Doranna had four children under the age of six and she stayed home to raise her family. When their youngest son was the only one at home she went back to work as the owner/manager of Dee’s Coffee Mug in the Federal Building in Bismarck. She loved working again and meeting all the people that frequented the coffee shop. In the late ‘80s she was given the opportunity to open Dee’s Coffee Mug in Fargo and she and Lloyd relocated. She enjoyed the challenge of moving to new locations, be it to a different home, different city or even a different country. Doranna had strong ties to St Mary’s Catholic Church in Bismarck including singing with the choir. Music was a large part of her life and she was an accomplished vocalist. Her vision problem never stopped her from doing what she wanted to do. She had many interests and friends and was always eager to learn something new. As granddaughter Ava, said “Now Grandma can see all the colors!” She is survived by her four children, twelve grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. As a note of interest, Doranna and Lloyd were charter members of ACB and were attendees at the Convention in Kansas City when a large group walked out of the 1961 NFB Convention, rented a conference room in a hotel across the street and proceeded to initiate the formation of ACB.

We have lost still another NDAB member, our beautiful little vivacious German lady Elsie Friesz of Mandan. Elsie died on March 26, 2016 at the age of 86. Elsie married Edward Friesz in 1953. She dedicated her life to her family, staying at home to raise her and Ed’s six children, entertaining her children with stories, songs and dancing while preparing meals and baking breads, cookies and other desserts for meals that were an important gathering time for her family. She developed a love of photography, taking hundreds of photos on Kodachrome slides that entertained so many at family gatherings. She loved attending daily Mass and her daily walk to church no matter the season or weather. She loved to travel and was an avid gardener. Elsie always dreamed of going to high school and she did for a few short months, before returning to the farm to help care for her mother. But Elsie never stopped dreaming about graduating from high school and in 1995, at the age of 65, she passed the GED and received her high school diploma. Elsie was visually impaired due to a childhood illness, and her loss of vision progressed throughout her life. Her loss of vision did not deter her from doing and accomplishing the things she was passionate about. One passion Elsie had was reading, and thanks to talking books provided by the Library of Congress and the North Dakota State Library, Elsie read thousands of books all of which she recorded in a journal. When funding for the North Dakota State Library and its services were being threatened with cuts, Elsie successfully testified before state legislative committees to preserve this important service to the blind. Elsie also loved the people she met at meetings and conferences of the North Dakota Association of the Blind and the annual summer camp program she attended at Camp Grassick. Elsie will be deeply missed by her family and those of us who knew her!

We extend our deepest sympathy to Doug and Mary Stip on the death of Doug’s father, Ray Stip. Ray died on April 9, 2016 at the age of 88 in a Minot hospital following a long battle with cancer. After high school in 1946 he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served as a paratrooper with the 11th Airborne Division, member of the Occupation Forces in Japan and recipient of the World War II Victory Medal and Army of Occupation Medal – Japan. Ray owned and operated Northwest Rendering in Minot, and farmed and raised buffalo and elk near Logan, ND, retiring in 2011. He especially enjoyed hunting, target shooting, golfing and baseball in his younger years and was an excellent marksman.

Greetings from North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind

Every year brings new challenges and new opportunities. At North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind we certainly experience a variety of unexpected events and last year was no exception. Our mission as a statewide resource and service provider for children and adults with visual impairment is something that will fortunately never change. At the heart of our service is a small staff of very dedicated and talented staff. One change that we experienced in adult services last year, however, was a resignation in the Fargo/Jamestown regions. We will miss having Jesse Shirek on staff but wish him well in a new chapter of his life.

Now covering all of eastern North Dakota for adult services is Pam Haus. Pam is based in Grand Forks but will be traveling to the Fargo and Jamestown regions frequently. Her direct number at NDVS/SB is 795-2719 or she can be reached by email at
Amy Osvold who is based in Minot will continue to serve the western half of the state. Her number is 857-7634. Her email address is
Ken Dockter will continue coordinating our adult training weeks at NDVS/SB. These training weeks are open to both new adult learners and all of you who might benefit from training in select areas or need refresher training. Ken will also be helping out with adult services in eastern ND. His number is 795-2724. Email address is If you are interested, you can talk to Amy, Pam or Ken about coming to a training week.

We are committed to working with you as NDAB members and our colleagues with Vocational Rehabilitation. Please reach out to us with questions and requests for assistance. We are here to serve YOU!
Paul Olson–Superintendent

2016 Lions Vision Mission to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

By Carolyn Probst

My son, Ethin, and I recently embarked on an adventure to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to participate in a Lions Vision Mission. We joined fifteen additional Lions representing seven North Dakota Lions Clubs.
North Dakota Lions Participants: Minot Lions: Carolyn Probst and son Ethin; Gateway Lions: Steve Thom, MD, and his daughter Allie; Fargo Lions: Patrick Brown, Joe & Dana Dobbs, Sue & Troy Anderson; Jamestown Lions: Dwaine & Joyce Heinrich; Mandan Lions: Kevin & Pat Vannett; Bismarck Lions: Bill and Alice Schott; New England Lions: Lance Jacobs & Michelle McCormick.
We arrived on February 20th and began setting up on February 21st. We partnered with the Club De Leones of Puerto Vallarta to perform 773 vision screenings and exams for the local residents in just three days. Matching the prescription with the appropriate eyeglasses was not an easy task. Even though few individuals spoke English and language barriers were present, local Lions volunteers assisted with translation which added to the full experience of the mission. The excitement and appreciation was evident and shared by all.
When we wrapped up at the end of the third day we estimated well over 800 local residents visited the club and took advantage of the screenings and services. We gave out nearly 1500 pairs of eyeglasses. We provided an additional 200 pair of sunglasses all of which were taken and greatly appreciated.
Lion Steve Thom, MD conducted eye exams which resulted in many referrals for eye surgery. He states “Having never gone on a Mission Trip before, I was filled with questions prior to our arrival. Sue Anderson, who organized the trip admirably, answered most of them, but many had no answer until the first day we saw patients. Providing medical eye care with 16 non-medical volunteers of all ages could have proven difficult, but this group was filled with motivated and caring Lions and family members who proved to be quick and competent learners of the craft! As the only Physician in the group I couldn’t have been more impressed!! Our brother Lions from Puerto Vallarta, led by President Enrique Perez Flores, did an outstanding job advertising the event and in the screening of patients and translating. Their hospitality toward our team was exemplary. It was a wonderful example of two cultures combining to fill a HUGE need! Well done Lions!”
Many thanks and much appreciation goes out to the Fargo Lions who collected and cleaned over 3,000 pairs of glasses for the trip. Many local volunteers, including Dr. Dan Levine, read the prescriptions of those glasses and labeled and bagged them. The Lions from Puerto Vallarta not only provided us with everything we needed to accomplish this Mission, but took us into their home and celebrated with their families over incredible food, conversation, and comradery.
Ethin and I cannot express enough appreciation for the contributions both the Minot Lions and Magic City Lions made in sponsoring a portion of this trip. It has afforded us an opportunity to travel to another Country, provide a service to others, meet and work with Lions from our home state of North Dakota and the local Lions from Puerto Vallarta. In addition, a special thanks to Alberto, local PV Lion, who took us to see parts of Puerto Vallarta we otherwise would not have experienced. From the North Bay to the South Bay during our two free days, he generously shared his time and took us to a variety of beaches and restaurants, on both the coastline and in the mountains, and was pleased to introduce us to his friends. Between his broken English and my very minuscule Spanish it was both humorous and challenging to communicate which simply added to the fun. His generosity and kindness will not soon be forgotten. We have made many new friends. This experience we shared has been priceless.

What the Week Meant to Me

By Ethin Probst

Overall, I think that visiting Mexico opened me up to another part of the world. It meant a lot to me because while I had, mentally, known that the world was not a small one, I was able to really enjoy and comprehend how great it is to travel. There are people in need and I got to be a small part of helping them. The days were long, but a lot of fun too. Everyone was so nice even though most couldn’t understand me, and I couldn’t understand most of them. I do now know the benefits of learning Spanish!! I met a lot of new people who showed me affection and had some of the best foods I ever tasted! I really enjoyed the trip and want to go back again.

Donations and Memorials

The following donations and memorials have been received since the February edition of the Promoter:

Carol Schmitt, Janice Sowokinos, Denise Karalis, Linda Engraf, Hazen Community Chest, Laqua Tax Service, Thrivent and Boeing
Total Donations: $2,744.69

Shereen and Elton Faber in memory of Dorothy Kapaun
Shereen and Elton Faber in memory of Nancy Faber
Deb Kuntz in memory of Elsie Friesz
Total Memorials: $80.00

Total Donations and Memorials: $2,824.69

NDAB welcomes and is very grateful for all donations and memorials sent to our organization to assist in the programs that help people with vision loss live a more successful, productive life.
Helen Baumgartner, Treasurer

NDAB Summer Camp Plans for 2016

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom

Plans are underway for the 46th annual NDAB Summer Camp to be held at the Elks Camp Grassick August 7-14. The Friday night banquet with the theme “Masquerade Ball” will be planned by Whitney Engbrecht, Lexee Steffan and Morgan VanWell. The camp packets will be mailed out toward the end of June so watch for them. If you know of someone who might be eligible to attend, please pass that information on to one of the Co-Camp Directors and they will make the contact.

If you have any questions, call Rick at (701) 793-5210 or Loris at (701) 774-3399.

Below are the NDAB Summer Camp Guidelines:

1. To provide an opportunity for persons who are visually impaired to come in contact with persons with similar impairments and share a common concern.
2. To help in the process of adjusting to blindness.
3. To provide an opportunity to learn new skills, techniques, and leisure time activities to enhance the quality of life.

1. Must be at least 18 years of age with vision loss as the primary disability.
2. Must be capable of participating in the program set-up for camp.
a. Must be able to care for one’s personal needs including bathing, dressing, eating, etc.
b. Must be physically able to get oneself around the camp grounds, with the exclusion of difficulty with mobility due to vision loss.
3. Must be cooperative and demonstrate willingness to abide by the regulations of camp.
a. Alcoholic beverages and/or unauthorized drugs are not allowed on the camp grounds. Any violators will be promptly sent home at their own expense.
b. All campers must remain overnight at camp.
c. Campers must attend the entire week of camp unless other arrangements have been made with the co-camp directors, or a situation arises, such as an illness or a family emergency.
d. Participants must notify one of the directors if leaving the campus for any reason.
4. Must demonstrate respect for authority.
5. Must display consideration for fellow campers.

1. Any adult who is visually impaired and not a North Dakota resident but is attending a North Dakota college or university will be eligible to attend the NDAB Summer Camp at no cost.
2. One member of ACB leadership will be eligible to attend the NDAB Summer Camp annually as a camper at no cost.
3. Any adult who is visually impaired and who lives in another state other than North Dakota could attend camp but must pay for their room and board, which is set by the Elks Camp Grassick Director. At this time, the cost is $250. Any adult who is visually impaired and lives in a border town may attend at no cost. Border towns include East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Breckenridge and West Fairview.
4. Camp capacity, which is set by the Elks Camp Grassick Director, is 60 people. Residents of North Dakota would be given preference to out of state campers if the camp capacity were reached.
5. Any member of NDAB who moved out of state but continued to pay their annual dues would be eligible to attend camp at no cost.

Candy’s Corner

This will be the final column in my series on the changes to the braille code with the adoption of Unified English Braille (UEB). I wanted to point out a change that will be evident to anyone who uses braille to write phone numbers, dates in numeric form, time, etc. In UEB, the number sign is referred to as the “numeric indicator.” It is formed the same way as the number sign: dots 3, 4, 5, 6. An important rule change in using the numeric indicator, or number sign, is this: The effect of the numeric indicator does not continue past punctuation signs, except in the case of the comma, the decimal point, or the fraction line. So, when writing a phone number in UEB, one must repeat the numeric indicator following each hyphen. In writing time, the numeric indicator is repeated following the colon, etc. However, when writing a simple fraction, such as ½, the numeric indicator is NOT repeated after the fraction line. Numbers using commas are written as before, as are numbers using decimals. However, the decimal sign has changed. It is now written as a low “d,” or dots 2, 5, 6. In UEB, whenever a print period is written, it is formed by the dots 2, 5, and 6. This is true in the decimal point, the ellipsis (which consists of three lowered d’s) and the “dot” in an email address or web address. Since there is no longer a computer braille code, when writing email addresses or web addresses, contractions can now be used, with some exceptions, of course.

Another important rule change when using the numeric indicator is that no contractions can be used following the numeric indicator unless a space intervenes. So, when writing an address, for instance, the word “1st” cannot use the “st” contraction and the word “4th” cannot use the “th” contraction. Another change in writing addresses occurs when using a single letter as an abbreviation for a compass direction, such as “N.” to mean “North.” The grade one indicator, formerly known as the “letter sign” must be used before the capital letter sign to show that the letter “n” is meant and not the word “not.” Confusing? Well, all the rules are listed at, as well as suggestions for learning to use the new code.

I want to assure everyone that material written in UEB will be quite easy to read for the average braille user. It is really not as scary as it sounds! Most people will not need to become acquainted with all the rule changes unless one is actually writing braille, and then mainly if one is a transcriber. Also the old code, or English Braille American Edition (EBAE), will still be around for a long time. Books and other materials embossed in EBAE are not going to be tossed into the garbage bin! But any new materials being produced from now on will in the vast majority of cases be produced in UEB. If you are interested in a free list of the new signs used in UEB, including the new parentheses, percent sign, dollar sign, and other new signs, contact Leslie Pederson at North Dakota Vision Services. Her number is 1—800-421-1181, extension 2713.

Dad Eats in Peace after Home Evacuation…

Written by Todd Fahlstrom

As usual, our day begins with normal routines: showering, brushing teeth, clean clothing, ensuring the kids get a good breakfast, and of course trying to figure where the backpacks are so we can rush out to the bus stop for school. It also wouldn’t be normal if we didn’t have an occasional friendly reminder to keep out of each other’s space and to share.

Today was an exception. There was no school and the kids slept in an extra 30 minutes. Stumbling up the stairs still in their pajamas, the kids started noticing something was not right. They started yelling, “Dad, what’s that smell?” as they held their noses and pointed to the smoke alarm, frantically yelling for mom. “We have to evacuate mom, come on!” Jackets and shoes and doors left half open they all ran across the street to grandma’s as we’ve instructed them to do in case of a situation arise.

As fire trucks arrived, the fire chief came into our home to inspect. He found me and Coco, our cat, calmly eating breakfast at the table. What was that smell you say? Sautéed whole onion and peppers with sausage crumbles, mushrooms, eggs and a ton of cheese. My pores were freaking out! My taste buds were dancing! And to think, all it took was to cook onions in the house to get a little bit of peace. Tomorrow’s lunch special: onion soup; for dinner: onion loaf; and I’m thinking some fried onions for snack. Life is good!

Report of 2015 ACB Convention in Dallas, Texas

Submitted by Genie Lang

Thank you for the pleasure and the honor of being your delegate to the 2015 ACB Convention this last year. I cannot tell you how awed I was by the conference speakers, the workshops, and the vendors with all the new technology.

I attended many workshops including one on writing grants. This workshop allowed me to perfect my grant writing skills. I learned of wording to use and what not to use.

I found I was very un-informed about the workings of ACB. I learned about its history and how widespread its influence is. I was surprised at its membership and their geographical reaches.

I attended a workshop on writing. This workshop talked about the use of adjectives and other descriptive words when writing about one’s experiences. We read and critiqued some stories and found ways to better state what had been intended. We discussed how to “paint a picture” for the reader. This was very valuable to me, as I am in the process of writing a history of my family. The speaker gave me many ideas as to how to write certain aspects of my history.

It was my delight to find an impromptu mini session on Retinoblastoma. This disease took the eyesight of my son-in-law, leaving him totally blind at 6 months of age. I learned more about the disease and its continued impact on the lives of the people who are afflicted with it. I was able to give my son-in-law contact numbers of others with this condition.

It was a very moving experience for me and I would highly recommend anyone who has a chance to go and learn. Again, thank you for this experience.

2016 American Council of the Blind (ACB) Legislative Seminar Report

By Allan Peterson

This year the Seminar was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Old Town Alexandria, VA, on Monday, February 29th and Tuesday, March 1st. This proved to be a delightful location. Approximately 100 advocates representing 30 or so of ACB’s affiliates were in attendance at the Seminar. Representing NDAB were Zelda Gebhard, Donna Hepper and myself. Just so you are aware, Donna did make the trip at her own expense and it’s great to have her with us to help share the load.

To help reduce expenses for attendees, ACB chooses to hold the Legislative Seminar in conjunction with the winter Board meeting and affiliate President’s/leaders meeting. These 3 meetings are referred to as Mid-year meetings and are always held close to the ACB national office in the Washington D.C. area in late February and/or early March.

To help sustain its advocacy efforts with policymakers, ACB has wisely chosen to locate and maintain its national office in the Washington, D.C. area. Initially the office was established in DC in the late 1960’s when Derwood McDaniel took on the reins as ACB’s first National Representative. In the first few years the office was supported on a shoestring budget; to sustain and nurture the operation, Derwood took a minimal and often no salary and paid many of the office operating expenses from his own pocket.

Although the ACB office has always been located in the Washington D.C. area, it has moved its location from time to time; these moves were necessitated to take advantage of a more favorable rent and better accommodations. The most recent ACB office move happened this year on February 1st, when the office moved from its long-time location in Arlington, Virginia, to its new digs not that far away in Alexandria, Virginia.

Two rather significant changes were witnessed at this year’s ACB mid-year meetings – it was the first time that Eric Bridges addressed the mid-year meetings as ACB’s Executive Director and it wasn’t Eric but it was Anthony (Tony) Stephens who took on the role of directing the information presented during the Legislative Seminar meeting on Monday before we all went off to Capitol Hill to meet with our legislators and their staff on Tuesday, March 1st. If you didn’t know, Tony is the person, who was hired about three months ago as ACB’s Advocacy and Governmental Affairs Director.

Eric Bridges is, of course, not new to ACB; Eric had worked for ACB for many years but last fall was hired as Executive Director after Melanie Brunson resigned that position. Tony is new to ACB. He had been employed by National Industries for the Blind prior to being hired by ACB. I can truthfully say after participating in ACB’s board meetings and attending the mid-year meetings, ACB now has an excellent team in place to do its bidding.

There’s much more to say about this but I’m very impressed with what Eric has been able to accomplish in the short amount of time that he’s been the Executive Director. After witnessing the presentations he made at the Legislative Seminar, I’m impressed with Tony as well.

Other than these introductory remarks, the information shared in this report will be limited to happenings at this year’s ACB Legislative Seminar. The Seminar was noteworthy in that we were on Capitol Hill on one of those so called “super” Tuesdays in this year’s state Presidential primaries and caucuses.

Congress is currently in its 114th session. It will end in January after the election and the “lame duck” Congress has met to do its work. The 115th session will begin its work in January after the “swearing in” ceremony and those who have been elected begin their terms of office.

With one addition, the policy priorities that ACB chose to feature for the 2016 Legislative Seminar were the same as those for 2015. Briefly, The 4 policy initiatives that were the topic of this year’s Seminar were:

Issue #1: H.R. 729. A bill that would establish a 5-year demonstration project to determine the feasibility of expanding Medicare coverage to include visual aids. This would include “video magnifiers” for qualified Medicare beneficiaries who have “low vision” and must rely on this type of equipment to help maintain and strengthen their ability to live independently.

Issue #2: H.R. 3535. Alice Cogswell, Anne Sullivan Macy Act. A bill to help insure that children with sight and hearing loss are properly identified, that a thorough assessment of their needs be conducted and that they be provided with a comprehensive set of skills to deal with their individual disabilities in their school’s K12 educational setting. The bill is named in honor of two women who were luminaries in the field of education of blind and deaf children.

The Cogswell Macy Act is a collaborative effort by leaders from both the blind and deaf communities. The title of H.R. 3535 was named to help acknowledge and honor a teacher and a student. Anne Sullivan Macy was Helen Keller’s beloved teacher and Alice Cogswell was the first deaf girl to be educated in a school for the deaf in the United States.

Issue #3: Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty by the U.S. Senate. This Treaty is the result of an international diplomatic conference that was conducted under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2013. The terms of this treaty will allow libraries and other organizations that produce accessible format copies of works for distribution to people with print-reading disabilities to share these works across international boundaries. Ultimately this would free up resources that are currently used to make multiple copies of the same work so that more publications can be put into accessible formats for those who need them. Documentation for the Marrakesh Treaty was sent within the last 2 months by the Obama administration to the U.S. Senate. Currently16 countries have ratified the treaty and 20 are needed for it to become recognized as a viable agreement among the community of nations. There are many good reasons for the U.S. to take the initiative to ratify this treaty now.

Issue #4: Greater definition for regulatory guidance for web accessibility for people with blindness and visual impairments. When the ADA was enacted 26 years ago the internet was in its infancy. We are asking that legislators would strongly encourage government officials in the Department of Justice and the Obama administration to take the steps that are necessary to update ADA’s regulatory requirements that will more fully define web accessibility for the population of people who are blind or have limited eyesight.

The day that we spent on Capitol Hill was a very busy one. Again, we made a total of twelve separate visits that included all six of the large office buildings on Capitol Hill. Our day began at 8 AM with a cab ride to the Capitol and ended at 6:30 PM after our visit to Senator Hoeven’s office was over. It was without doubt a lot of walking and many times having to rely on the kindness of strangers to get to where we needed to go. It can truly be said that it’s a zoo in many more ways than one.

We made visits, not only, to the offices of our North Dakota congressional delegation but also to those of South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Those visits were made, in part, because no one from our neighbor ACB state affiliates was able to attend the Seminar. Arrangements were made in advance for our visits to those offices with the assistance and approval of those affiliates.

The three of us believe that this year’s meetings on Capitol Hill were probably the best we’ve ever had based upon the fact that we were able to meet directly with the Congresswomen from Wyoming and South Dakota and had an audience with 3 of the U.S. Senators – Senator Hoven from our own state, Senator John Thune from South Dakota and Senator Steve Daines from Montana. The meeting with the Congresswoman from Wyoming was particularly memorable because her father is dealing with the effects of age related macular degeneration and she had a school classmate who is blind.

I will reiterate, our investment in attending the Seminar is very important to NDAB and ACB. Not only does it give us the opportunity to advocate for our current legislative initiatives, but it is important to build ongoing relationships with our elected leaders and the people who staff their offices.

Once again, thank you NDAB for the privilege of representing your interests at this year’s ACB Legislative Seminar! A huge and very appreciative thank you too to fellow travelers Zelda and Donna for their help to me during this latest adventure to “the zoo” in Washington D.C.

FM Visions Group Update

Visions group led by Todd Fahlstrom and Nara Murphy continues to meet and grow with an average of 16 people in attendance. We kicked off the new year by discussing goal setting in January. February we brought in two guest speakers discussing the “SNAP” (food assistance) and “Active at Home Helpers” programs. In March we shifted to an evening meeting time. The topic was employment and three panelists and two employers came to discuss their experiences and hiring needs. It was a good turn out and we even had some new folks join. In April we discussed transportation and the guest speaker was the new FM Mobility Manager, Drew Sturdivant.

We continue to look to the attendees to grow the group activities by learning what their interests are. We look to begin a creative writing group sometime this fall. For my creative writing story, see “Dad eats in peace after home evacuation.” This summer Visions group will shift to the 3rd Wednesday (June – August) and July will be our festive picnic in the park.

Caroline Congden leads up our technology users group. This past fall, we were able to collaborate with South Dakota School for the Blind in Aberdeen to teach their students about iPhone accessibility and apps. This came to fruition because of Ardell Fiedler, mobility instructor staying in contact with Todd Fahlstrom. They worked together at South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind in Sioux Falls. The students are eager to learn from those who are currently using the technology.

If you want to join our group, help out, or learn more about Visions group, please contact me, Todd Fahlstrom, at (218) 443-1499 or

Disabled Parenting Project

An online community by and for parents and prospective parents with disabilities

The Disabled Parenting Project (DPP) is an online space for sharing experiences, advice, and conversations among disabled parents as well as those considering parenthood. The DPP also serves as an information clearinghouse and interactive space for discussion and connection. The DPP hopes to inform social policy concerning this underserved population through the development of scholarly research, fact sheets, and training resources, as created by and for the community, and will set the stage for additional research and social action to address the important issues of discrimination and disparities.

The DPP has features including: A marketplace where parents can buy, sell, and trade adaptive parenting equipment, a message board where parents and prospective parents can connect, a directory of providers who serve disabled parents, a library of up-to-date information and resources on parenting with a disability, a blog written by parents, prospective parents, and professionals, and much more!

For more information, check out their website at

Artificial Intelligence and Facebook

Submitted by Kathy Larson

I am a Facebook user, and was excited to discover that Facebook recently launched an image recognition service based on artificial intelligence that could automatically describe a photo to me. When people post photos and do not put in additional text describing them, I always wondered what was in the picture.

The new feature is called “Automatic text alternative,” and it works on iPhones and iPads that have the VoiceOver feature enabled. You will hear phrases like: “The image may contain: one or more people, smiling, sunglasses, outdoors, sky, water, beach, inside, mountain, tree, snow, ocean, tennis, swimming, stadium, basketball, ice cream, sushi, pizza, dessert, coffee, baby, beard, shoes And “selfie.”

The system uses a “neural network” computer system armed with a structure similar to the human brain. Company artificial intelligence engineers, who receive 2,000 million images every day through the apps, feed it with millions of examples of photos to learn to recognize objects. Still in its first stage, the service will be pretty basic. It will only use between 80 and 100 concepts to describe the photos. My relatives in Norway often post pictures, and now it’s nice to know whether the photo includes people or scenery.


New Tool Helps Employers and HR Professionals Make eRecruiting Technology Accessible

With most of today’s employers using web-based recruiting to evaluate and hire job applicants, it’s more important than ever to ensure that talent acquisition tools are accessible to all job seekers—including those with disabilities. In that spirit, the Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) has launched TalentWorks, an online resource for employers and human resources (HR) professionals that helps them make their online job applications and other eRecruiting tools accessible.

“Many people don’t realize that inaccessible technology is preventing people with disabilities from applying for and interviewing for jobs. Employers as a result are unaware of potentially great hires,” said Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu. “TalentWorks shows you how to ensure that your organization’s virtual door is open to everyone, laying the groundwork for a diverse, more inclusive workforce.”

The tool provides general background on accessibility and eRecruiting, as well as practical tip sheets for making online job applications, digital interviews, pre-employment tests, and resume upload programs accessible. Funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, PEAT fosters collaboration and action around accessible technology in the workplace.

For more information, visit

Proposed Amendments

Dear NDAB Members,
The Constitution and Bylaws Committee would like to offer you some introductory comments about the need to make what our Committee believes are some much needed changes to our governing documents – the Constitution, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation.
We strongly encourage you to read these proposed amendments carefully prior to the Convention so you are ready to discuss and vote on them.
Granted this may not be the most interesting topic for some of you. However, these are the documents that govern our organization and help lay the groundwork of what, why, where, and how, we do what we do. These amendments likely will stimulate some discussion. With that in mind, please know NDAB respects and welcomes diversity of opinions and perspectives.
So you may ask, “Why are there 3 governing documents”? Perhaps, a good way of looking at this is that the Constitution lays down the principles of how we operate and the Bylaws provide the specifics on how those principles are carried out. Thus, the bylaws should be a document that is easier to amend. The Articles of Incorporation is an abbreviated version of the Constitution. It is filed with the State of North Dakota verifying our status as a nonprofit organization.
How might one best look at these documents from the top down? They are arranged in an outline form. The Constitution, for example, has 9 headings called articles. Beneath the articles are sections and beneath the sections are lists of subsections.
Some of the amendments being proposed are referred to as clerical, meaning there is a change in wording that doesn’t affect meaning. The change might be viewed as just a better choice of words.
Some of the amendments can be viewed as substantive, meaning that it adds, deletes, or further defines something in the document. There are also some structural changes which can more clearly define the arrangement of a section and its subsections.
Please know it isn’t the intent to burden the Convention with these amendments but to offer what is needed to reflect how the organization is to conduct business.
I’ll close with this thought; I hope that this introduction will help you with your “required” reading!
Allan Peterson, on behalf of the Constitution & Bylaws Committee
Michelle Zentz, Todd Fahlstrom and Zelda Gebhard
2016 Proposed Amendments to Governing Documents

Proposed clerical amendment: Titles of the Constitution, Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation will use official name registered with the secretary of state, include dates of adoption and amendment for ease in file management. Submitted on behalf of current secretary.

The North Dakota Association of the Blind, Incorporated
Adopted: June 11, 2011 Last Amended: current date

The North Dakota Association of the Blind, Incorporated
Bylaws and Standing Rules
Adopted: June 12, 2011 Last Amended: current date

The North Dakota Association of the Blind, Incorporated
Articles of Incorporation
Adopted: August 23, 1936 Last Amended: June 10, 2012

Constitution, Article I. Name
Proposed clerical amendment: To use name registered with the secretary of state. Replace current wording of both Constitution and Articles of Incorporation with the following wording of Section 1.
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be: The North Dakota Association of the Blind, Incorporated. Hereinafter, this organization shall be referred to by its trade name, NDAB.
Article III. Membership
Section 8. Delinquent members. Delinquent members may be re-instated upon payment of current dues during a calendar year. If a member does not pay current dues for more than one year, the person is no longer considered to be a member and must reapply for membership.
Proposed structural amendment: To strike out Section 8 listed above within Constitution. It is perhaps better addressed within the Bylaws within Article II Membership, Section 2 and Section 3.
Proposed structural amendment: To move Section 9 as listed below to Bylaws. Re-label as Section 7 Suspension and Expulsion of Members under Article II Membership.
Section 9. Suspension and Expulsion of Members.
A. A member may be suspended or expelled for any of the following reasons
1. Flagrant violation of the Constitution, Bylaws or the Standing Rules of the organization.
2. Unauthorized activity in the name of the organization.
3. A member acts in such a manner that the individual’s activities relative to NDAB are considered to be detrimental to the organization or the person in question encourages such acts in others.
B. After due notice, an accused member shall be entitled to a fair hearing by the executive board, which upon proof of guilt shall expel the member.
1. The decision of the executive board may be appealed to the convention by filing a signed notice with the secretary thirty days in advance of the convention. A two-thirds vote of the convention shall be required to reverse the ruling of the executive board.
2. Members who have been expelled for cause may apply for reinstatement.
3. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the executive board shall be required to reinstate such a member.

Article IV. Officers
Section 1. NDAB shall have the following officers: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and three directors. Other officers may be added by a two-thirds vote of the convention. The president and vice president and two of the directors must be legally blind or visually impaired.
Proposed substantive amendment: To make all positions on the executive board as elected positions. Change title of currently appointed financial chairperson to Development Director to reflect the elected office. Replace current Section 1 with the following:
Section 1. NDAB shall have the following officers: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, development director, immediate past president, and three board directors. Other officers may be added by a two-thirds vote of the convention. The president and vice president and two of the directors must be legally blind or visually impaired.
Section 2. Election of Officers
E. Whenever an office or directorship is vacated, the person who is appointed to fill that position shall serve until the next Convention when an election for that office must be held.

Proposed substantive amendments: Add sub-sections listed below to provide clarification of procedures to deal with officer vacancies.
F. Whenever an office or directorship is vacated, the counsel and consent of the remaining members of the Board shall be required for appointment to fill vacant positions of officers or directors.
G. The immediate past president shall hold this office until a new president is elected. If for whatever reason the position of Immediate Past President is vacated, that position shall remain vacant.
Proposed structural amendment: To form new Section 3. Qualifications. This will eliminate the long list of subsections and more clearly communicate those members eligible to run for office. Move current F., G. and H. along with a copy of the vision restrictions which ensure a majority of officers are legally blind or visually impaired from Section 1.

Section 3. Qualifications of officers
A. The president and vice president and two of the directors must be legally blind or visually impaired.
B. Payment of annual dues shall be a pre-requisite for the right to hold office in NDAB
F. All elected officers and directors shall reside within the State of North Dakota during their terms of office.

Proposed substantive amendment: This is the amendment brought forward at the 2015 convention. Replace current F with the following:
C. All elected officers and directors shall be a resident of the State of North Dakota during their terms of office or in a city in a neighbor state, that city shall share a common border with its sister city in North Dakota. Examples of such cities are Fargo – Moorhead and Grand Forks – East Grand Forks.
D. To avoid conflict of interest officers shall not hold office while serving as an officer in another consumer organization of the blind.
Proposed substantive amendment: Submitted to Constitution and Bylaw Committee from membership.
E. To avoid undue influence and any potential conflicts of interest, no more than one member from any household shall hold office at the same time.
Section 7. The directors shall have the following duties:
A. To regularly attend meetings of the board and be knowledgeable about the business that needs to be discussed and acted upon.
B. To be actively involved in the activities of the organization and to provide leadership on the committees of NDAB.
C. To serve as voting members of the executive board.

Section 8. General. Each officer shall perform all duties normally associated with the office according to Roberts Rules of Order Revised and any additional duties assigned by the convention or the executive board.
Proposed structural amendment: To clarify that listed duties of directors apply to all officers and directors. Eliminate repetition. Strike out current Section 7 and Section 8. Replace with their combined subsections:
Section 4. General Duties. Officers and directors shall have the following duties:
A. To regularly attend meetings of the board and be knowledgeable about the business that needs to be discussed and acted upon.
B. To be actively involved in the activities of the organization and to provide leadership on the committees of NDAB.
C. To serve as voting members of the executive board.
D. Each officer shall perform all duties normally associated with the office according to Roberts Rules of Order Revised and any additional duties assigned by the convention or the executive board.
Proposed substantive amendment: To define immediate past president’s duties as recommended within strategic plan.
E. The immediate past president shall provide advice and counsel as needed to the president regarding matters pertaining to the administration of the organization.
Section 5. The president shall have the following duties:

Proposed clerical amendment: Each of the subsections of president C, vice president C, secretary G, and Treasurer I, strike through “To serve as a voting member of the executive board.” Add remaining sentence from subsection C. to read as follows:

B. To preside at all conventions and meetings of the executive board. As its presiding officer, the president votes whenever a tie vote occurs, a secret ballot is cast or a poll of the board is taken.

Proposed substantive amendment: To define duties of the development director from identified need within strategic plan.
Section 9. The development director shall have the following duties:
A. To coordinate and lead the fund raising efforts that is conducted by the organization with assistance from the executive board and the membership.
B. To report results of fund raising efforts to meetings of the board and to the membership while they are assembled in annual convention.
C. To investigate potential fund raising and grant opportunities .
D. To collaborate with the treasurer to prepare the annual fiscal budget that is presented for approval to members that are assembled in annual Convention.
Article V. Executive Board
Section 1. Composition of the executive board.
A. NDAB shall have an executive board composed of the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and three (3) directors. A majority of all members of the board shall be legally blind.
Proposed substantive amendment: To add elected position of development director. Replace Section 1 with following text:
A. NDAB shall have an executive board composed of the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, development director, immediate past president and three (3) board directors. A majority of all members of the board shall be legally blind.
B. The past president and financial chairperson shall be members of the executive board.
Proposed structural amendment: Strike out B and replace with following:
B. The elected and listed officers (6) and board directors (3) shall constitute the voting members of the Executive Board.
Proposed structural amendment: Add Section 3 Meetings. Placing current J., K, and L. to this section. There is no change to the current wording being proposed. Split large paragraph with additional subsection.
Section 3. Meetings.
A. The meetings of the executive board may be held in person or by telephone conference call. The board members may be polled in writing and the secretary shall keep a record of the votes cast.
B. The executive board shall be called into session at the discretion of the president or upon request of ten (10%) of the members of NDAB, or upon request of any three (3) members of the executive board. The secretary shall notify the members of the meeting at least fourteen (14) days prior to the scheduled meeting by written notice to the mailing address of the member or e-mailing the member or notifying them by telephone. Any member may object to the sufficiency of the notice in writing or by appearing at the meeting. If a member does not object to the sufficiency of the notice the member shall have waived the right to object.
C. The executive board shall hold a meeting at the time and place of the convention of NDAB. To maintain organizational continuity, the executive board is instructed to hold a minimum of 4 quarterly meetings per year and that an interval of 3 months should not pass between each executive board meeting. A quorum for the business meetings of the executive board of directors shall be six (6) members.
D. All meetings of the executive board shall be open to all NDAB members and others that are invited by the president. The only exception to this open meeting rule is if the president is to convene the board in executive session for the purpose of considering and discussing sensitive matters, issues and information of a financial nature that are confidential to the parties involved.

Article VII. Amending the Constitution
Section 1. This Constitution may be amended by the following procedures:
A. Any proposed amendments to the Constitution shall be submitted in writing to the executive board at least 60 days prior to the annual state convention.
B. The executive board shall place the petition on the agenda of the next convention and shall include a copy of the proposed amendment with the notice of the convention mailed by the secretary.
C. A two-thirds vote of all members present and voting shall be required for the adoption of any amendment.
Proposed substantive amendment: New A. to clarify notice given to executive board and remove “mailed by the secretary” as this is not our current practice, to add the word “constitutional”, amendment(s) to specify type of amendment, and to clarify when amendments become effective. Strike out current subsections A. and B. Replace with following subsections:
A. Any proposed amendments to the Constitution shall be submitted in writing to the executive board at least 60 days prior to the Annual Convention.
B. The executive board shall place the petition to make amendment(s) to the Constitution on the agenda of the next convention and shall include a copy of the proposed amendment(s) with the notice of the convention.
C. A two-thirds vote of all members present and voting shall be required for the adoption of any constitutional amendment.
D. Any changes to the Constitution that are adopted by an assembled convention shall become effective as of the conclusion of that convention.
Section 2. A motion to amend the Constitution may be made and considered at a regular convention.
B. If the motion to consider passes, the proposed amendment shall be placed on the agenda of the next convention and a copy of the proposed amendment shall be included with the notice of the convention mailed by the secretary.

Proposed clerical amendment: Strike out “mailed by the secretary”. It will read as follows:
B. If the motion to consider passes, the proposed amendment shall be placed on the agenda of the next convention and a copy of the proposed amendment shall be included with the notice of convention.

C. A two-thirds vote (2/3) of those present and voting is required to pass all proposed amendments.
Proposed clerical amendment: To add word “constitutional” to specify which type of amendments to read as follows:
C. A two-thirds vote (2/3) of those present and voting is required to pass all proposed constitutional amendments.

The North Dakota Association of the Blind, Incorporated
Bylaws and Standing Rules

Adopted: June 12, 2014 Last Amended: current date

Article I. Mission Statement
Proposed substantive amendment: To add “and Vision Statements” to title of Article I and Add Section 3 and Section 4 to include vision statement within Bylaws.
Section 3. The intent of the vision statement is to serve as the ultimate goal for which NDAB strives to attain.
Section 4. The vision of NDAB shall be: Persons with vision loss will live a successful, productive life.
Article III. Officers
Section 3. Election for the offices of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer shall be conducted at conventions held in the even numbered years.

Proposed substantive amendment: Strike out secretary within Section 3. And add Section 4. as written below so all of the officer positions are not elected in the same year.
Section 3 Election for the offices of president, vice president and treasurer shall be conducted at conventions held in even numbered years.
Section 4. Election for the offices of secretary and development director shall be conducted at conventions held in odd numbered years.
Article IV. Executive Board
Proposed clerical amendments: Strike out Section 1., Section 4. and Section 5. as they are currently addressed within the constitution.
The referred to sections are listed below:
Section 1. The president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and three (3) directors shall constitute the executive board of NDAB. The past president and financial chairperson shall be members of the executive board.
Section 4. The executive board shall fill vacated offices for the period of the unexpired term.
Section 5. The executive board shall make an annual report to the convention.

Article VI. Amendments to the Bylaws
Section 3. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and voting at a convention is required to pass all proposed amendments.

Proposed substantive amendment: To read:
Section 3. A simple majority vote of those present and voting at a convention is required to pass all proposed amendments to the bylaws.
Proposed substantive amendment: Add Section 4:
Section 4. Any bylaw changes that are adopted by an assembled Convention of NDAB shall become effective as of the conclusion of that Convention.

The North Dakota Association of the Blind, Incorporated

Articles of Incorporation
Adopted: August 23, 1936 Last Amended: June 10, 2012

Article IV – Officers
Section 1. Elected officers shall be president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and three (3) directors.
Section 2. The above named officers and directors along with the financial chairperson, and past president shall constitute the executive board which shall serve as the governing body of NDAB between conventions and carry out the policies and programs of this organization as adopted by the convention.
Proposed clerical amendment: To make necessary revisions that reflect election of development director. Strike out current wording above and replace with the following:
Section 1. Elected officers shall be president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, development director, and three (3) board directors.
Section 2. The above named officers and directors along with the immediate past president shall constitute the executive board which shall serve as the voting and governing body of NDAB between conventions and carry out the policies and programs of this organization as adopted by the convention.
Section 5. The following guidelines shall be observed regarding the election of officers and board members:
5. All elected officers and directors shall reside within the State of North Dakota during their terms of office.
Proposed clerical amendment: To strike out current wording of 5. if the proposed amendment to Article IV Officers Section 3. Qualification of Officers C. is adopted: All elected officers and directors shall be a resident of the State of North Dakota during their terms of office or in a city in a neighbor state, that city shall share a common border with its sister city in North Dakota. Examples of such cities are Fargo – Moorhead and Grand Forks – East Grand Forks.

Paying Attention

Reprinted with permission from Steve Goodier

A funny story circulated recently about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle evidently told of a time when he hailed a taxi in Paris. Before he could utter a word, the driver turned to him and asked, “Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?”
Doyle was flabbergasted. He asked the driver if he had ever seen him before.
“No, sir,” the driver responded, “I have never seen you before.” Then he explained: “This morning’s paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always arrive. Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation. The ink spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, and not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduced that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.”
“This is truly amazing!” the writer exclaimed. “You are a real-life counterpart to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes!”
“There is one other thing,” the driver said.
“What is that?”
“Your name is on the front of your suitcase.”
Perhaps the driver was no master detective, but he was observant. He paid attention, and paying attention is an important part of living fully — if we pay attention to the right things.
Speaker Alan Loy McGinnis tells of a New York City sculptor named Louise. She lived in one of the most dilapidated neighborhoods of the city. But, by paying attention to her surroundings, she found endless beauty and inspiration. She marveled at the elegance in the varying patterns of the sun and the moon reflected on tenement windows. In an object as ordinary as a chair she could see something extraordinary. “The chair isn’t so hot,” she once pointed out, “but look at its shadow.” By paying attention, she was able to see what others might miss.

Paying attention to the moments and to ordinary things of life, as much as possible, is a way to happiness. Like Brené Brown says, “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” What do you think you might actually see and appreciate if you were to look carefully?

• I think I might see things or people in a new way. Too often I look straight through them and take them for granted.
• I think that, if I were to pay closer attention, I may better notice the abundance in my life instead of wishing for what I don’t have.
• If I look carefully, I think I just might see how beautiful and exquisite my life really is instead of thinking someone else has it better.
I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness. I may only have to pay attention to the right things and happiness will find me.

NDAB Leadership Roster

President: Mark Kueffler – #866-9908
Vice President: Zelda Gebhard – #493-2399
Secretary: Char Feldman – #235-3293
Treasurer: Helen Baumgartner – #663-8878
Past President: Michelle Zentz – #298-9105
Board of Directors:
Carol Schmitt – #854-7395
Sherry Shirek – #540-6356
Janelle Olson – #570-0801
Financial Chairperson: Allan Peterson – #282-4644
Legislative Liaison Chairpersons:
Allan Peterson – #282-4644
Zelda Gebhard – #493-2399
Co-Camp Directors:
Loris Van Berkom – #774-3399
Rick Feldman – #235-3293
Family Adjustment Seminar Chairperson: Janelle Olson – #570-0801
Sports and Recreation Chairperson: Dave Sundeen – #847-3139
Scholarship Committee Chairperson: Tracy Wicken – #772-7669
Historian: Alexandra Engraf – #206-1028
Publicity Chairperson: Sherry Shirek – #540-6356
Local News Reporters:
Bismarck: Helen Baumgartner – #663-8878
Dickinson: Lexee Steffan – #260-8914
Fargo: Shereen Faber – #237-4589
Grand Forks: Renae Huseby – #775-8904
Lake Region: Carol Schmitt – #662-3363
Minot: Doug and Mary Stip – #839-4138
Williston: Loris Van Berkom – #774-3399
Promoter Editor: Kathy Larson – #875-4291

All members are encouraged to submit items of interest to the editor by mail, phone or e-mail for publication. Deadline is the 10th of the month prior to quarterly publications of February, May, August and November.

NDAB is a nonprofit organization which promotes the interest of ND residents who are blind and visually impaired. As a nonprofit organization, we welcome donations to help in advancing the cause of persons who are blind and visually impaired.
To learn more about NDAB visit us online at

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.