The Promoter – May 2023
Official Publication of the
North Dakota Association of the Blind
Available in four formats:
large print, email, braille and cartridge
Editor: Beth Bakke Stenehjem firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Submitted by Trampes Brown
A person walks into a room; they have notes, information, charts, and graphs. They have rehearsed every word they plan to say. They know each rebuttal to every question they may face. They warmed up their voice so everyone will hear them clearly and concisely. They feel prepared for any situation they may face; however, they also walked into this situation with one giant disadvantage: they are not willing to listen.
It is beneficial for all organizations, and in this situation NDAB, to have members with passion and willingness to speak freely and openly about what they believe. As they say, there are two things everyone has: an opinion and a body part just south of the tailbone. Opinions are wonderful when shared and respected; the problem that can happen, and I have seen in this organization, is personal agendas tied into their opinions. I am sure what I am writing is going to upset some people. I feel after nearly two years as president of NDAB and attempting to work through many of the situations we have worked through as an organization, it is time to drop the gauntlet. I am saying this to each and every member, not just to a select few. I am not attacking any specific person or persons with this article. I am not going to point fingers except at myself for not being more direct. I attempt to respect all opinions of our members. I do my best to respond in a timely manner and let each person share their feelings and opinions.
Recently I have noticed a few issues within our organization. We seem to be looking at aspects of NDAB and life with vision loss with a microscope. Yes, I am referencing a previous article that discussed different tools that could be used to look at different situations. By using a microscope, members seem to nit-pick small details from many programs, what individuals have done or not done, who said what, where, and when. I would ask each of you to ask yourselves, before you start complaining about things or calling other members, how does this affect the overall mission of NDAB? Of course, there will be things that are done in our organization that not everyone will agree with. That allows for discussion, growth, and a better organization. I don’t know how many negative emails, phone calls, and texts that have been sent around, the majority of which I never see or hear of directly, but some indirectly. When the Board, which our membership elects, is not made aware of situations, it is impossible for us to help remedy situations that arise. Eventually when some of these situations makes their way to board meetings, or at least the board is made aware, people have heard half-truths and misinformation, but still made up their mind on how someone has wronged them or the board is not doing their job. If we continue to pick at wounds and scars, they never heal. I know we have all heard that statement. I think we also need to remember if you don’t treat the wound, it will not heal either. I say all this to get to the question of: Do the negative actions or opinions of others hinder our mission?
Personal agendas typically do not help. If you see something NDAB should do or not be doing, the first thing you should do is read up on our organization, specifically our mission statement. Does your idea fit the foundation of NDAB? If so, I would say it is not a personal agenda. If it does not, how will your idea both positively and negatively affect not only people with vision loss both today and in the future, but how will it affect specific members? Will it potentially be taken out of context if you don’t reach out and have an open discussion with some key stakeholders of a program or whoever would be affected with a change? Do not misinterpret my statement; change is good. We should always try to make this the best member organization we can make it; however, it should not be at the expense of anyone’s feelings without speaking with them.
What should I do? I know many times we ask ourselves this question when we see a change or situation that should be addressed. Recently we have come across situations that have sparked conversation about process and procedure within NDAB. This is a wonderful thing to help improve our organization. I am so glad these items have sparked potential change. While these topics may be controversial, we will grow and be stronger moving forward. The one thing I want to advise everyone NOT to do is just communicate with others and complain, vent, and blame. I was raised with a very simple approach to handling challenges or areas that could be improved: “If you see a mess, clean it up” or “If you see a problem, fix a problem.” It is very easy to continue to talk about what someone is doing or not doing. Anyone can do sit back and continue to say “I told you so.” It takes courage to speak up and speak out. I ask you all to evaluate the issues you see both in your personal life and NDAB. Help us find a solution instead of making a situation more difficult. I believe if you are not courageous enough to put some time and effort into solving a problem and just want to complain and expect others to fix everything for you, you are hurting NDAB, not helping.
We have many dedicated members working hard, putting in countless hours to carry out the mission of NDAB. I greatly appreciate each and every one of them and the talents they offer. We have amazing programs and activities to serve the blind and low vision of our state. We have wonderful opportunities for growth in our organization as well as implementing new programs. However, none of this will happen if we do not find a way to work together to accomplish our goals. If we do not work together, we will continue to struggle and have more and more individuals less likely to dedicate time and effort to NDAB.
I say all of this not to attack or blame. I say this to follow my own mantra: I see a problem and I want to help fix a problem. Let’s work together to make NDAB the best it can be.
June 9-11 NDAB Convention in Grand Forks
June 30-July 7 American Council of the Blind Convention in Schaumburg, IL
August 6-13 NDAB Camp at Camp Grassick
The 2023 Convention Committee invites you to “See Blind Possible” at our 86th Annual Convention of the North Dakota Association of the Blind. The Convention will take place Friday, June 9 – Sunday, June 11, 2023, at the Hampton Inn & Suites, located at 2985 South 42nd Street, Grand Forks, ND.
A block of rooms (including King, Double Queen, and Accessible Rooms) has been reserved for $150 + taxes per night with a minimum two-night stay. To reduce room expense, individuals paying for rooms will be reimbursed $30 per night by NDAB at the convention. Please keep your hotel receipt until you are reimbursed. Reserve your hotel room by May 21st by calling the hotel directly at 701-757-2255. Mention “ND Association of the Blind” when making reservations to ensure you are booking under the block of rooms.
If you are attending the convention for the first time, be sure to mark your registration form and your name will be included in a random drawing for one of two $250 stipends. There will also be a drawing for up to ten $100 stipends. In order to qualify for either of the drawings, your registration form needs to be returned by Monday, May 8th. If you receive a stipend, you will be notified before the convention. The stipends can be used for any convention-related travel and/or hotel expenses.
See Blind Possible
On Friday night, after checking into the hotel and stopping by the NDAB Convention registration table at the Hampton, join us at North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind (500 Stanford Road) for dinner and an evening of fun with friends old and new! Grand Forks area Lions Clubs will be sponsoring and serving the picnic dinner. There will be outdoor (or indoor, if the weather doesn’t cooperate) games and the opportunity to tour NDVS/SB. Transportation to and from NDVS/SB will be provided by the city of Grand Forks. A bus will leave the hotel at 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. and return to the hotel from NDVS/SB at 8:00 & 8:15 p.m.
Saturday’s business meeting and banquet will be held at the Hampton in their meeting rooms. Our banquet speaker will be Steve Johnson, a long-time member of the Grand Forks Lions Club. Steve is a past president of the ND Lions Foundation and the former director of the Grand Forks Airport Authority. He epitomizes the Lions motto, “We serve.” Saturday’s boxed lunch and banquet will be catered by Eagle’s Crest Grill of Grand Forks.
In early April NDAB held its Spring Retreat in Bismarck. It was held in conjunction with North Dakota Vision Services/School for the Blind‘s annual Family Weekend. While the weather wasn’t entirely cooperative, once everyone arrived safely, the group enjoyed bowling, an escape room, goalball, and visiting with fellow NDAB members, friends, and families attending Family Weekend. Check out some pictures from the weekend and join the fun next time!
Group 2, which included Jiry, Trampes, Emily, Brant, Jurnee, Emily, and Robert, tried to save Teddy Roosevelt’s journal from a fire before time ran out in their Escape Room!
On Saturday morning, the group split into two teams and put their wits to the test at Breakout ND Escape Rooms! Here is Group 1: Kyla, Jay, Cole, Edward, Jon, Ethan, and Brock (kneeling)
Plans are well underway for our 52nd Adult Camp Session which will be held August 6-13 at Elks Camp Grassick. We are thrilled that Gerald Byron and Janelle Olson are planning the banquet and have chosen the theme, ”All Roads Lead to Camp”.
We will be offering many of the tried and true camp classes along with a few new ones that were specifically requested by our campers. For example: pinch pottery, fishing, and a non-denominational Bible Study will be added to our lineup this year. Evening activities will be very similar to last year with plans for a picnic on Saturday evening followed by a campfire send off. We look forward to welcoming all of you to camp, to connect and maybe reconnect. Until then, I leave you with this phrase.
“Country Roads, take me home, to the place I belong, Camp Grassick, ND
Take Me Home Country Roads!”
Bet you started to sing it, didn’t you. Please contact me with any questions.
Milissa Miller, Camp Committee Chair
701-298-8091 or email me, email@example.com
There weren’t as many NDAB members who went down for the Black Hills Ski for Light event as in the past, but that didn’t stop them from traveling and having a blast in Deadwood. Mary Verlinde, her husband Paul, and Gary Pedersen from Fargo drove two vehicles across the state. The participants were Kenny Meyers, Donnie Frasier, Doug Stip, Brant Adams, and Lexee Steffens.
The week was filled with skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dancing, eating, and much more. If you are interested in attending this event in the future, just talk with any of the participants and they will try to talk you into this week-long party.
Brant and Lexee, enjoying the sunshine
Doug Stip, volunteering to help with lunch
Submitted by Janelle F. Olson
How do you start your day? If you asked me, I would tell you it always starts with a shower. Should I ever be in a place where this would not be possible, I would be sunk. You are quite right, I would not have made a good pioneer woman. After drying off and getting dressed, I head straight downstairs to the coffee pot. The aroma, hands around a hot cup of coffee and the first sip of java, kick start me into the possibilities held in the day ahead.
Recently, it has been brought to my attention through many sources that perhaps I should be adding something else to my morning routine which is the practice of gratitude. It has been proven – just consciously and intentionally acknowledging five things each morning for which one is grateful will improve mental health and put a person’s head and heart in the right place to begin the day. It is called a practice because one has to work at it to turn it into a habit. I have been working on it.
Each statement of gratitude begins with: “I am grateful for….” Today, as I write this, the end of that statement is filled in with the name of Melvin Eckberg. Who is he, you ask? It is a great NDAB trivia question, and we all should know the answer. According to the NDAB Member Handbook, he was the young piano tuner from Jamestown, who with the collaboration of Bessie Brady, a staff member of the North Dakota School for the Blind, who had an idea which in the year of 1936 sparked the beginning of our association. There was a growing need in the state for someone to step up to speak out on behalf of people who were blind and visually impaired, and who better to do so than people who lived this daily. In August, a meeting was held in Jamestown where eleven people attended, nine of whom were visually impaired. At this meeting, NDAB was born and a constitution was adopted. If you have not lately looked at our history written in this handbook, I would encourage you to do so.
As a point of reference, in 1936, my parents, who had not yet met and had no knowledge of Mr. Eckberg, were 26 years of age. They did not know at that time they would meet and eventually be the parents of three daughters with sight loss who would benefit from the organization that he and Ms. Brady and the people attending that convention brought to life, now 87 years ago.
Since its beginning, we know the lives of hundreds of people have been touched and changed through the work and selfless commitment of members and leadership. While there is no question that NDAB has been the collective voice to put and keep services in place and advocate for change in legislative system issues, I believe it is the message of hope shared with those who are struggling with their sight loss that is the secret sauce of the organization. One-to-one connections of support have been made through all of the NDAB sponsored events over the years. We who have richly received from NDAB are now mandated with the responsibility to pass it on. Like those first members, we are not in this organization to get, but to give. I am grateful for Dennis and Tim who first put my hands on a computer keyboard. I am grateful for Don who poked at my sight loss wall of denial to finally let in the beginnings of the light of acceptance. I am grateful for Millie who taught me to play “The Blue Skirt Waltz” on the piano. I am grateful for Dick who showed me persistence. None of these members, like our Jamestown piano tuner friend, are with us still, but what does remain is what they gave to me. If any of them had decided to put themselves first and drop out over a disagreement, I would not have had the chance to learn and grow as a person.
The children’s Sunday School song, “All God’s Creatures Got a Place in the Choir,” comes to mind. Ask your smart speaker to play it. It’s a fun song. While we each are different, we are gifted and connected because of our vision loss, and we all belong in this choir. Being involved and active in any organization can be a messy, at times an upsetting venture, but through messiness and discomfort if we keep working out the rough spots on the sheet of music and remember that we are not here for ourselves, but to be here for those others who we hope will remember us for what we gave when it is our time to be written into NDAB’s history, it will all work out. There will be people in the future, just like my parents’ daughters, who will need us. I hope that still in 87 years another person will begin their day by saying, “I am grateful for NDAB.”
Submitted by Trampes Brown and Emily Stenberg Brown
Summer Book Club
We have had some fabulous book discussions this winter with our faithful readers. Thanks to everyone who participates each month, and if you haven’t joined us before, the more the merrier! We are always happy to have more readers sharing their thoughts on the books we read each month. We meet the first Wednesday of each month during Coffee Chat at 10 a.m. and then again at 7 p.m. If you miss a discussion, you can always listen to the recordings linked on the Play It Again email.
Here are the book club picks for May and June.
May 3 – The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (DB 15312)
June 7 – The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller (DB 105565)
We will be taking the months of July and August off, but Book Club will return on September 6! We have a few reading suggestions for your summer that are listed below. These are not mandatory reading, only suggestions. When we gather on September 6, we will invite you to share what books you read over the summer.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (DB 100531)
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (DB 102559)
Sweet Land: New and Selected Stories by Will Weaver (DB 64732)
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz (DB 75317)
There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness by M. Leona Godin (DB 104014)
Submitted by Zelda Gebhard
Collage of photos with Zelda, Allan, Senator Tim Mathern and the display table.
Disability Awareness Day sponsored by North Dakota Disability Advocacy Consortium (NDDAC) was held on March 7, 2023, at the North Dakota State Capitol and NDAB was there. The purpose of the event is to create awareness of ND organizations and agencies dedicated to serving residents with disabilities. Conveniently scheduled during the legislative session and located in the Great Hall, the day provides a great opportunity to visit with individuals, vendors and also especially with our legislators.
It was a frigid day with snow and blowing snow but that didn’t keep members Allan Peterson and Gary Pedersen from the Fargo area and Zelda and Steven Gebhard from Edgeley from making their way to Bismarck. The weather also didn’t alter the always busy legislative session day except the legislators shared their space that Tuesday with over 250 attendees. Besides visiting with vendors, many went on tours of the Capitol and attended House and Senate afternoon sessions.
Many improvements have been made in the last few years in an effort to make the Capitol more ADA accessible and welcoming to all residents of North Dakota. Some of the improvements made include installing ramps. widening doorways and installing lever door handles. However, it was noted by our delegation that the control panel located outside each elevator is a flat electronic screen with no tactile buttons to select floors. Zelda reported this to her District 28 Representative, Mike Brandenburg when he stopped by the NDAB table to say hello. As the Vice Chairman of the Government Operations Division of the House Appropriations Committee he invited her to testify at their committee hearing that afternoon about the inaccessibility of the elevators to those with vision loss.
Our NDAB table had some of the usual public relations stuff like brochures, handouts, Talking Book Player, and mini chocolate candy bars. The table also held posters made for the ACB Currency Rally and money folded in the common ways used by the blind and visually impaired currently to distinguish one bill from another. We found the folded money worked even better than chocolate to get attendees to stop and talk.
In addition to those things, we used some new equipment that enabled us to share the great videos created to promote NDAB during Giving Hearts Day.
The computer monitor, HDMI cable and lightening to HDMI adapter cable were purchased by NDAB to be used for public awareness/education presentations like meetings, health fairs, and similar events to share information about NDAB with others. Devices that can be used with this equipment include a laptop computer, iPhone, and iPad. Zelda used the NDAB monitor, HDMI cable, and HDMI to lightening adapter in combination with her personal iPad and speakers she brought from home.
If you would like to use the newly acquired PR equipment, please contact Zelda at 701-709-0262 in plenty of time to allow for transfer of the items.
Be on the lookout for ways you can share information about NDAB with others.
Submitted by Robert Westermeyer
Legendary radio personality, Paul Harvey, once said, “The best tranquilizer in the world is fishing.” Sporting Chance, an organization that provides outdoor opportunities for people with disabilities who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance is holding their annual fishing event on Saturday, June 3, from 8 AM to Noon at Graner Bottoms. For more information contact J. R. Casper at 701-226-6578. Lunch will be served at Graner Bottoms after the event. This is a free event, the only cost is transportation.
Submitted by Janelle Olson
Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, we out here in the West say, “There is no place like home.” Here is what has been going on in each of our homes since the last edition.
Brenda left here to visit her family in Arnegard to celebrate Easter. Her niece and family from Wyoming and sister and family from Fargo also gathered. She said not too much has been happening since the last edition. She did find the following chicken recipe, and I will bet if we visited her at her home she would happily make it for us.
Place thawed chicken breasts on a pan.
Season as you prefer.
Top with diced green peppers and onions.
Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes.
Remove from oven, pull back foil and place a cheese slice on top of each.
Cover again with the foil and let sit for 2 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Susan and Glenn split their time between two homes. In the colder months, their residence is in an RV in Salome, Arizona, where in addition to the warmer weather, they enjoy the company of others and varied activities. This trip they attended movies, played a game called “Pegs and Jokers” with three other couples, traveled to Lake Havasu to meet visitors from the North, and walked across the actual London Bridge. During these months, they stayed connected, sharing their adventures with the family and friends up north and were told about the news, weather and grandchildrens’ events. They have just recently returned back to their rural Williston home and are glad to be back, seeing familiar faces once again in stores.
Loris has stayed pretty close to her home this winter, just waiting for the cold, snowy weather to leave and spring to appear. It looks like it might actually show up some time in April. She will be flying to Florida on May 15th to attend a grandson’s high school graduation on May 17th. Working out, volunteer hospice work, and tap dance lessons are just a few of the activities that she engages in weekly.
Kathy and Stan have left their home for doctor appointments, hospital stays, and physical therapy sessions. Stan was diagnosed in December with Marginal Zone Lymphoma and underwent four weeks of infusions in Minot. The next regiment of treatment has begun with oral medication. Kathy had surgery on February 6th, getting a new right hip. She graduated from a walker to a support cane and is now good as new. She said that perhaps she had done too many clockwise pivots in Norwegian folk dancing, but she’s ready to dance again. Spring cleaning is the word of the day.
Carol would like you to know there is not much new going on under her roof. Unfortunately, the 25 feet of snow that fell in Fargo (okay, perhaps I am exaggerating, but for those of you living there it may have felt like it was this amount) prevented her daughter from being able to come home for Easter.
Sheryl is flying away from her home in Kentucky the end of April to come back to Williston where she will bunk in with her children for a welcome visit. She enjoyed an Easter feast with her son and family the day before as her son preaches and they all spent the day at church.
As for Jeff and me, we have acquired a new addition to our home. Actually I suppose I should say a replacement for which I am ever so over the moon excited! In recent months, the kitchen faucet had been threatening to stop working. It first started with an annoying little drip, drip, drip which grew into a slight stream and then just plain running water that could not be convinced to be shut off. I called the plumber who didn’t seem old enough to be out of junior high, never-mind employed for fifteen years in his trade. He came and now, “Voila”, I have a perfectly functioning faucet! Sometimes it is just the little things that keep us turning.
From our homes to yours, we hope everyone has made it through this winter and will soon be able to fling open the front door, getting outside to enjoy spring.
Submitted by Robert Westermeyer
After a five month winter hiatus the Bismarck Supper Group met at the Rockin’ 50s in April. The next meeting will be on May 10th at the China Star.
Memories of Mickey Teubner from a trip in June of 1980: We were on a trip, sweltering in the humid Boston area, eating seafood almost around the clock. We were in Boston to perform for the 100th birthday celebration of Helen Keller’s birthday. We went through four sweltering nights in a hotel whose air conditioners kept freezing up due to excessive humidity. We had good times and laughs together along with the performance.
Three years later, we were on a trip with Central High. Others were drinking and doing other stuff they shouldn’t be doing. Mickey helped me to toe the line so that I wouldn’t get in trouble at the School for the Blind.
Submitted by Carol Schmitt
Grace Sharbono has been concerned about her daughter-in-law’s health as she has been in Altru Hospital in Grand Forks from Good Friday through Easter Monday with a blood disorder. She was treated for that and is much better now and home with her family. Grace is happy that her daughter and grandson are now taking a gun safety class. Grace said things are going along much as usual.
Chris Fiechtl said she is very glad that spring is now here! In honor of spring, they had a spring party this afternoon and had ice cream and rootbeer floats. She takes advantage of the nice days and sits out in the gazebo and just enjoys being outdoors. She says she often thinks of the great days at NDAB camp and remembers all the silly things she did there!
I was not able to reach Mary Frelich or Beatrice Krogen.
As for me, I have been waiting for spring also! I am glad to see green grass again. My daughter and her family were going to come home the week before Easter, but then we had the blizzard so that did not happen. It was their spring break, so now I will wait until this summer when the weather is a bit nicer…I hope! I spent Easter with Jason, Elaine, and Sydney. After church, we went out to eat, then came home and Sydney and I played Taboo for a while and then played US State Capitols. She has to know them in school now, so we made a game out of it. My siblings will be coming here to pick me up so we can all spend time on the farm for a week or more. That is always fun to share that time together.
We hope you have all made it through the blizzard and spring waters we have had lately and look forward to seeing many of you at the convention in June.
Residence and Family: My name is Michelle Zentz and I have lived in Fargo, ND since 1996. My partner, for the past 24 years, is Larry Anderson. Although neither of us were blessed with children, we currently have a fur baby named Amber who resides at Larry’s home. And, I was fortunate enough to have a beloved dog guide, Jenna by my side for 12 and a half years.
I was raised in the small community of Binford, ND. I am the youngest of six children born to Oliver and Violet Zentz. Our mother lives in Binford with our brother Mike. She is a member of NDAB and will celebrate her 96th birthday on April 13th!
Occupation: I worked as a certified nurses’ aide for ten years at nursing homes in North Dakota, Washington, and Arizona. I worked in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a home healthcare provider until I lost my eyesight due to diabetic retinopathy.
I am a graduate of the North Dakota State University where I received a B.S. in Human Development and Education, majoring in Child Development and Family Science.
I have provided information and referral services while volunteering at the suicide prevention hotline and have a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling, but health concerns interfered with completion of internship.
I have served on the local independent living center board for six years as vice president, as a board director, and chairperson of their governance committee.
I have also worked for two years as an accessibility consultant for NDSU.
Hobbies: Growing houseplants is my main hobby. Most visitors exclaim, “You have a jungle growing in here!” I am an avid reader of audio books and participate in the Monthly Book Club.
How long have you been a member of NDAB? I have been a member of NDAB for the past 26 years. At the 2016 state convention in Williston, I was presented with the Edwin Christensen Award. My 11 years of board service were recognized. I was elected to two terms and served four years as president, past president for four years, and was a three-year term as board director. Also mentioned were my years of involvement within Family Adjustment Seminar, being an instructor at Summer Camp and attendance at the Ski for Light program.
During my presidency, from 2008-2012, all our governing documents were brought up to date. A team effort was initiated to make a new NDAB brochure, the “What Can I Do to Help” brochure and a redesign of sympathy cards and letterhead. We also began developing officer manuals, committee guidelines, and handbooks for the use of current and future leaders.
The time and effort I have personally contributed toward developing a strategic plan was acknowledged during the award presentation. I was appointed Group Leader for implementation of Governance and Communication objectives in 2014. A few examples of our accomplishments include the creation of a vision statement, development of an Executive Board Code of Conduct, A Dispute Resolution Policy, and a Document Retention And Management Schedule.
I currently serve as the chairperson of both the Constitution and Bylaw Committee and the Nominations Committee for NDAB.
Why should someone join NDAB? NDAB is the place to find opportunities for personal growth, leadership development and to make wonderful friendships! Larry and I attended the 2002 ACB convention together in Houston, Texas where I was the NDAB delegate. I was selected as a 2017 Leadership Fellow for the ACB convention in Reno, Nevada and the 2019 ACB Convention in Albany, New York marked the 9th national convention I participated and was able to reconnect with friends and create many fond memories.
Michelle dancing with Charlie at Ski for Light
Ronald Jan, formerly of New Town and Harvey, died Nov 27, 2022 in a Minot assisted living facility.
Joseph DeKaria, formerly of Jamestown, died Dec. 15, 2022. Our sympathies to his family and Marilyn Garrett (his partner)
Evelyn (Evie) Moore died on January 26, 2023. Our sympathies go out to her husband, Bob.
Cheryl Brooks died Feb. 17, 2023 after courageous battle with multiple medical issues. She worked at UND Disability Student Services where she offered support to so many students.
Mickey Teubner, who was a technology expert and piano tuner, died March 7, 2023. He was an NDAB member and past board member.
Shannon (Shannah) M. Gates Kueffler of West Fargo died April 8, 2023 at Essentia Health Hospital in Fargo due to health complications. Our sympathies go out to her husband Mark.
MEMBER NOTE: Marilyn Garrett has both macular degeneration and glaucoma. She has moved to Minneapolis to be close to specialists.
By Zelda Gebhard, NDAB Legislative and Education Committee
ACB Currency Rally in LaFayette Square
Zelda holding up signs in the rain at the Rally.
“After many years of advocating for paper currency that we can feel and identify, members of the American Council of the Blind organized a rally and a march to emphasize the need for accessible currency. It was a cold and wet day, and yet it was a privilege to be a part of both. Hopefully, our efforts put us a step closer to the goal.
Please see below for the official communication written by ACB about the Currency Rally and March which was held during the 2023 ACB Leadership Conference held March 9-12.”
On March 10, Harriet Tubman Day, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and supporters rallied in front of the White House and marched to the U.S. Treasury to highlight the ongoing fight for accessible and inclusive currency for all.
As a result of this rally, five members of the American Council of the Blind met with representatives of the U.S. Treasury and Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and for the first time, touched the certified tactile feature that will be included as part of the $10 bill redesign in 2026. The U.S. Treasury agreed to quarterly meetings with the American Council of the Blind to provide progress reports on the key milestones as they work toward completing the redesign of the $10 bill by 2026.
“50 years of advocating and 20 years of litigation have brought us to this momentous occasion,” said ACB President Dan Spoone. “We are on the cusp of the United States joining the more than 100 nations whose currency is already accessible to people who are blind and low vision, and the American Council of the Blind remains resolute in our advocacy to help the Biden Administration and the U.S. Treasury finish the job.”
During the rally, a coalition of disability, women’s, and civil rights organizations gathered together to demand a $20 bill redesign that features a portrait of Harriet Tubman and includes accessibility features for people who are blind and low vision. The American Council of the Blind greatly appreciates the support of its members and a diverse set of cross-organizational partners to bring greater awareness to this long-standing and important issue. Our collective voice calls on the United States to express its commitment to the equality of all people by ensuring U.S. paper currency is accessible and inclusive.
“ACB is grateful for the enduring advocacy of our members and the broad support that we have received from the disability and civil rights communities on this issue, including from the Harriet Tubman family and Women on 20s, as we work to make our currency more accessible and inclusive for everyone,” said Clark Rachfal, ACB’s Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs.
January-March 2023 NDAB Donation Total $43,704.90
Giving Hearts Day
GHD Bonus (intended for GHD, didn’t arrive by February 9)
Capital City Lions, Wilton Lions
Other Donations and Memorials
Lisa Gibbens in memory of Mickey Teubner
Curt & Sue Lindlauf, Hans & Bernice Willadsen in memory of Dave Carlson
Marie Neumann, Jacqueline Trytten in memory of Cheryl Brooks
Thursday Enrichment Club in memory of Ruth Hoglund
Allan Peterson, NDAB Development Director
It’s time to stop and celebrate our fund-raising accomplishments that seemingly are ever more centered around Giving Hearts Day – GHD. This marks the seventh time that we’ve participated in this region-wide event; this year it was with 567 other non-profit causes. Although it can seem like we are a small fish in a large pond, it can be said that the benefits of our participation definitely outweigh the drawbacks of our involvement.
The following are some “take aways” from our participation in this year’s GHD Appeal:
- Giving Hearts Day management has transferred $15,363.91 from their system into our NDAB bank account. The odd dollar and change figure is due to processing fees that can be applied. Note: Several of our GHD donations were made in memory of a loved one or to honor someone special.
- Additionally, after February 9, eight GHD donations that total $1,980.99 were received. These additional donations are referred to as bonus bucks because they were received after February 9 and cannot be counted under Giving Hearts Day rules. Nonetheless, internally we do add them to our total because it honors the donor’s intent. These donors, for various reasons, missed the cutoff date for GHD.
- When Feb. 9 GHD donations are added to GHD Bonus bucks. The total is $17,344.90.
- Prior to the Appeal, a Match Fund required under GHD rules, was amassed. This year our NDAB Match Fun totaled $25,186 and was secured from 34 donors. This Fund is used to match “dollar for dollar” the donations that are made by our GHD February 9 donors. If our Match Fund is added to the Giving Hearts Day donations, this total equals $42,530.90. FYI: This Match money is always in our possession and is never deposited in the GHD system, but we need to verify that we have it on hand.
- Contributions were received from 192 Giving Hearts Day donors and eight from the bonus category. Most of the donations came from individuals/families. Many business and service club donations were received as well. Notably, 21 ND Lions clubs made Giving Hearts Day donations and five clubs helped create our NDAB Match Fund.
- Prior to February 9, 55 GHD donations were made by check and mailed to our PO Box – these donations totaled $5,300. Between Jan. 2 and Feb. 7, 20 donations were scheduled in the advance pre-GHD system. After processing charges, these donations totaled $1,168.34.
- Giving Hearts Day Donations ranged from $10 to $1,000. Sixty-four donations were made for $100 or more, the remainder ranged from $5 to $75. Thanks to the sizable donations, NDAB’s average donation was approximately $86.73.
- A total of 4161 Giving Hearts Day letters were mailed to potential donors. Our cost for the mailing was $3,842.23. Note: A Thrivent $250 award had helped to reduce the initial cost of this mailing.
The list of people to acknowledge and thank for their work for our participation in Giving Hearts Day includes but isn’t necessarily limited to the following. Note: If someone was omitted it is an inadvertent oversight.
- A very heartfelt thank you to Rebecca Anderson for her many hours of work keeping the books and for writing the many thank you notes to acknowledge donors for their generosity. Rebecca does an extremely good job for us.
- A huge thank you to Michelle and Zelda for their many hours of work on the database that led up to Giving Hearts Day and the work they’ve done since to make the ongoing corrections that are needed to maintain and update our master donor list.
- A huge thank you to Trampes and Emily Brown for the production of the video “See Blind Possible” that was used to promote our involvement in the 2023 version of Giving Hearts Day. NDAB members featured in the video were Brandt Adams, Gerald Byron, Missy Miller, and Mary Stip.
- Many words of thanks and appreciation to all who helped produce the second video “NDAB On Target” for Giving Hearts Day that featured those of us who are blind and visually impaired shooting archery at the Sandhills Indoor Archers Range in West Fargo. This was possible thanks to the fantastic work of Summer Camp instructor George Racine and the work of videographer Eric Falde who took time from his work to do this artistic service for us. Also, a big thank you to Gerald and his wife Lisa Byron for making the trip to Fargo and picking up Emily Zilka and Missy Miller along the way to join us. This also includes a huge thank you to the Sandhills Indoor Archers for accommodating our desire to use their facility for this purpose.
- Notably, Kevin Wallevand and the news crew from WDAY TV did a nice news story about the archery shoot we did at the Sandhills Indoor Archers facility. It featured the instructor George Racine, Zelda, and Emily Zilka. The story ran on the January 12th at the 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock evening news on WDAY TV.
- Many words of thanks to David Olson, Trampes Brown, and Zelda Gebhard for their work to get us set up so we could use the services of mail chimp so we could send four mass email messages to contacts on our master donor list to promote our participation in Giving Hearts Day this year.
- Many thanks and praise to Missy Miller and Lilly Mankie for their work to write and edit and do the graphic design work for the letter and mailing that was sent to the list of donors on our master donor list. Please know your talents and work is deeply appreciated.
- Many thanks and words of appreciation to Emily Brown for her work to maintain our Facebook page and to Brandt Adams, Missy Miller, and Katie Young for their work on our web page for Giving Hearts Day.
Finally, a very grateful appreciative thank you to those who made donations and contributed in any way to NDAB for Giving Hearts Day. And the work continues after GHD to analyze results and to continue to thank and inform our donors and to make plans for the next fund-raising event.
Submitted by Michelle Zentz and the Nominating Committee
Ready to cast your ballot?
Make sure to come to this year’s NDAB State Convention in Grand Forks and be ready to cast your vote! The nominating committee has heard from a few candidates willing to serve the organization and the 2023 slate of candidates to date reads as follows:
- Secretary 2-year term: Helen Baumgartner
- Development Director 2-year term: Allan Peterson
- Vice President 1 year of a 2-year term: Lexee Steffan
- Board Director 3-year term: Brant Adams
- Editor 1-year term: Emily Stenberg Brown
- 2024 ACB delegate to Jacksonville, FL: Amy Brunner Osvold
2024 ACB Alternate Delegate: Mary Stip
The Alternate delegate will attend the ACB convention if for whatever reason the elected delegate is unable to attend.
Remember, nominations may be made from the convention floor with the member’s prior consent. Nominees must meet the following qualifications:
1. Have attained the age of 18 and paid annual dues.
2. All elected officers and directors must be a resident of ND during their term of office or a city sharing a common border with its sister city in ND.
3. To avoid conflict of interest, officers shall not hold office while serving as an officer in another consumer organization of the blind.
4. No more than one member from a household shall serve concurrent terms.
Submitted by Allan Peterson and Zelda Gebhard
On January 3, both the 68th North Dakota Legislative Session and the 118th Session of Congress convened to begin their work on the business of setting the policies for the operations of the state and federal governments. For better or worse, this is part of the (small d) democratic process which follows on the heels of the nation-wide general election that was held in November of 2022.
One of the principal tasks of our North Dakota State Legislature is to determine the appropriation of state funding that is allotted to the various agencies and departments of state government for the next biennium that runs from July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2025. We, North Dakota Association of the Blind, are most interested in those state services that are specific to helping people with blindness and sight loss. This accounts for our advocacy for the appropriations for ND Vision Services/School for the Blind, the Older Individuals who are Blind program, and the Talking Book Program administrated by the State Library. Presently, the State Legislature is deep into the process of determining the appropriation (budget) level for all the state’s services for the next two years.
The deliberative process on the upcoming biennial budget cycle begins in earnest after the Governor submits his proposed budget to the State Legislature at the beginning of the Session. This is then the budget that the Appropriations Committees in the ND Senate and House will use to guide their work to approve and/or modify. The ND Senate and ND House Appropriations Committees go through the budget requests and hold hearings that include the administrative heads of the various departments and agencies of state government. Time is also allotted for the public to provide their input on the appropriation requests and that is when we (Zelda, Trampes, and Allan) can provide our testimony as representatives from NDAB to these Committees. To do this on behalf of NDAB we must acquire a lobbying permit even though we are doing this work as volunteers.
As representatives for NDAB we have, during this session, given written and oral testimony in support of the appropriations for ND Vision Services/School for the Blind, the Talking Book Program, and the Older Individuals who are Blind program when the opportunity was made available for us to do this advocacy work. The opportunity to address the Committee in person is usually the better option to make a favorable impression, however the travel conditions to the Capitol in Bismarck wasn’t the best in either of the two trips that I (Allan) have made to be there in person to speak with legislators.
Our recent advocacy work has also involved attending the virtual leadership meetings hosted by the American Council of the Blind ACB March 4th through the 7th. A major component of ACB’s leadership meetings is its Legislative Seminar. The seminar focuses attention on advocacy for specific policy priorities. The 2023 priorities remained the same as 2022 because, even though, each priority had been introduced as a bill during the last congressional session, they were not enacted into law by Congress. Notably, each of the four priorities addresses our need for access to vital visual information. FYI: Resolutions in support of each of these priorities were adopted by our membership at our 2022 NDAB Convention in Fargo.
Briefly, the four priorities are:
The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act – to help ensure that medical equipment that has visual information on a digital display can be made accessible to people who have sight loss.
Website and Software Applications Accessibility Act – to establish clear and enforceable accessibility standards for websites and software applications.
Communications, Video, and Technology Accessibility Act – to update existing requirements for accessible media, video user interfaces, and video conferencing services.
Exercise and Fitness for All Act – To establish guidelines for exercise and fitness facilities to provide a base level of accessibility for disabled consumers, both in the equipment as well as the instruction they provide.
We arranged and held virtual visits with staff representatives in the offices of our congressional delegation Senators Hoeven and Cramer and Congressman Armstrong to seek their support for these four legislative priorities. During these visits we also emphasized the importance of federal funding the State receives for the Talking Book Program, the Older Individuals who are Blind program, and public transit services. The need for continued advocacy for these issues is vital.
By A. Gregory Wonderwheel, M.A., J.D. (Edited for publication)
Many people are intimidated by the words “parliamentary procedure” and by Robert’s Rules of Order, both by the book’s imposing number of pages and its complex cross-referenced rules. Human beings are very complex too, but that doesn’t prevent them from being our friends. Similarly, parliamentary rules should be the member’s friend, and all the complexity of the rules should be made friendly by an understanding of their commonsense relationships to each other.
The purpose of parliamentary rules of order are to help people make group decisions after a full, fair, and free discussion. All the rules of parliamentary procedure may be traced to four fundamental principles of common sense, which I liken to the four legs holding up of the parliamentary table. If the member of the board, committee, or assembly holds these four basic rules in mind, all the other rules will fall into place and easily be put into perspective.
1. One Speaker Speaks at a Time
2. One Question Is Decided at a Time.
3. The Speaker Must Be Respectful.
4. Everyone’s Rights Are Protected by Balancing Them with Each Other.
1. One Speaker Speaks at a Time. The rules of order about who may get the floor to speak and when a speaker may be interrupted all derive from the simple rule that if any of the members are to be heard then only one member should speak at a time. If someone is speaking, then others should be quiet. If another feels it is important enough to interrupt, hopefully that person will know the rule that allows him or her to interrupt. But if the person feels the need to interrupt is important and doesn’t know the rule, then the member may always make a parliamentary inquiry to ask the chair if there is a rule that allows for interruption for that purpose. It is the chair’s duty to assist members with understanding the rules and finding the appropriate rule to assist the member’s participation.
2. One Question Is Decided at a Time. A question is a motion. People need to know what issue is being discussed and when and how it will be decided. All the rules about considering motions and their rank in order are made to avoid confusion about which question the group is discussing and deciding. The basic rule is that only one question is considered at a time in the order of being raised. If one question is being debated but another question develops that would have an important impact on the first question, then the rules provide a way for the subsidiary question to be decided before the main question. Also when important questions arise that are not about the main question but must be asked and answered before the group can continue, these privileged or incidental questions may be considered while the main or subsidiary question is pending. By making a parliamentary inquiry any member may ask the chair if their question has any precedence over the immediately pending question. When one question has precedence, all other pending questions are stacked to be decided in order.
3. The Speaker Must Be Respectful. The rules of order are fundamentally about respecting each member of a group so that the group can get decisions made in as quick and as fair a manner as possible, considering the size of the group and the urgency of the question. Decorum is a significant factor in helping questions be decided expeditiously, ethically, and impartially. The rules of decorum embody the principle that each member of a group has an equal right to attempt to persuade the other members that his or her view of a question is correct or best for the group. A member’s attempt to persuade the group is debate. Fair debate requires each member to show respect for the other members. Disrespectful debate takes unfair advantage of the right to persuade. Name calling, personalizing, shouting down, or other types of disrespect are not appropriate means of persuasion. The chair has the duty to call to order any member who is disrespectful. Also any member may raise a point of order to call to order another member who breaches decorum. The chair should direct the offending member to proper conduct. If a member continues to be disorderly after correction, the chair or any member may ask the group to discipline the member, including asking for an apology or ejecting the member for the remainder of the meeting. Since the conduct occurred in the meeting there is no need for a formal disciplinary trial. But if a member continues to act disrespectfully and that conduct reflects badly on the group or interferes with the group’s ability to conduct business, then the ultimate discipline of being expelled from membership in the organization may be decided after a trial according to the bylaws or the rules of parliamentary procedure adopted by the organization.
4. Everyone’s Rights Are Protected by Balancing Them with Each Other. The whole design of the rules of parliamentary procedure is created to balance the rights of the members. The interests balanced by the rules are those 1) of the majority, 2) of the minority, 3) of the individual member, 4) of the absentee members, and 5) of all together. For example, the simple majority vote for most main questions protects the majority’s right to get business done. A two-thirds majority vote protects the rights of a minority larger than one-third when certain significant questions are considered. The rules requiring or not requiring a second, protect the rights of the individual or the minority to consider or prevent consideration of certain questions. In addition the rules of quorum and notice protect the absentee members. Knowing that the rules are balanced to protect everyone’s rights, not just the majority or just a minority, helps members appreciate why the rules are elaborate. All the rules of parliamentary procedure relate directly to one or more of these four simple rules. If these four primary rules are held in mind when conducting meetings, the members should be able to have their say while the questions needing to be decided are decided in the most fair and efficient manner possible.
Respectfully submitted by Trampes Brown, Zelda Gebhard, Allan Peterson and Michelle Zentz, chairperson
2023 marks the 10th anniversary of having our governing documents dusted off from NDAB’s file cabinets and available online. You can locate the most recent amended Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and Bylaws at the bottom of our home page at NDAB.org If you are not a computer user and would like an alternate format, contact the secretary listed on the leadership roster at the end of this newsletter.
We have prepared eight proposed amendments to put forth this year at the Grand Forks convention. Each proposed amendment has been written in a manner to provide you with the location of the current wording, the proposed amendment, how the wording is to appear, followed by the justification i. e. reasoning for the change. The proposed amendments were submitted to the executive board for review and on March 22 received a recommended due pass.
The proposed amendments are included below so that you have them in your preferred format. A limited number of print copies of the proposed amendments will be available at convention to lower costs and save a few trees!. Please, bring your accessible device or braille copy of this newsletter if you would like to follow along as amendments are verbally presented during convention. If you have any questions before convention, you can contact the president , listed on the leadership roster.
Where it states within the Bylaws Article II. Membership Section 2:
Members shall pay annual dues by February 1 of each year.
Members shall be considered inactive if current dues are not paid by March 15. Upon receipt of current dues, members will be re-instated as an active member.
If dues are not paid by May 30th, their membership is forfeited, and they must reapply to become a member.
Proposed substantive amendment: Add the following two sentences to read as follows:
Dues collected during re-application shall be applied only to the year in which they are received.
Dues collected from individuals making application to the organization for the first time will apply to the membership dues of the subsequent calendar year.
Justification: Clarification of the dues structure was asked for by officers and committee chairpersons in charge of both reporting membership and maintenance of our mailing lists.
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.
Proposed clerical Amendment:
Strike out 2. and 3. to read as follows:
Section 9. Suspension and Expulsion of Members.
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.
Justification: The verbiage is repetitive of the information already provided within 1. and not necessary as the final decision would lie with the convention body.
The president shall have the following duties:
D. To appoint a sergeant at arms and a parliamentarian for each convention. Duties of the parliamentarian shall be to interpret and to clarify the constitution, by-laws, standing rules, and rules of order at the request of the chair. Duties of the sergeant-at-arms shall be to help maintain order and to ensure that voting is done in accordance with the standing rules of the convention.
Proposed clerical amendment:
Section 7. The president shall appoint a sergeant at arms and a parliamentarian for each convention. Duties of the parliamentarian shall be to interpret and to clarify the constitution, by-laws, standing rules, and rules of order at the request of the chair. Duties of the sergeant-at-arms shall be to help maintain order and to ensure that voting is done in accordance with the standing rules of the convention.
Justification: This wording would be better placed along with the appointment of vote tellers at convention within the Standing Rules.
Where it states within the Bylaws Article IV. Officer Duties Section 1:
The president shall have the following duties:
Proposed substantive amendment: Replace former wording listed as D with the president’s duty to read as follows:
To serve as or appoint the chairperson of the strategic planning committee.
Justification: The Bylaws are now at a point where reference to the strategic plan can be added.
Where it states within the Bylaws Article IV. Officer Duties Section 2:
The vice president shall have the following duties:
C. The vice president shall be a permanent chairperson of the membership committee.
Proposed substantive amendment: Strike out the wording “a permanent” to read as follows:
C To serve as the chairperson of the membership committee.
Justification: Clarification in wording was deemed necessary.
Where it states within the Bylaws Article IV. Officer Duties Section 4.
The treasurer shall have the following duties:
E. To procure an annual review/compilation agreed upon proposal of the books by a qualified auditor or accountant for review by the executive board. In addition, collaborate with the accountant to prepare the organization’s 990 report for the IRS and ensure that this report is submitted annually before the filing deadline.
Proposed substantive amendment: Strike out wording “agreed upon proposal” and “a qualified auditor or” within the first sentence. Add a new second sentence and revise the third sentence by replacing words “report for the IRS” with the wording “tax filing and replace wording “that this report” with the word “it” to read as follows:
E. To procure an annual review/compilation of the books by an accountant for review by the executive board. If deemed necessary by the executive board, make arrangements to obtain a formal audit.
In addition, collaborate with the accountant to prepare the organization’s 990 tax filing and ensure it is submitted annually before the filing deadline.
Justification: Although this duty was visited last year during convention, it was deemed necessary to add further clarification.
Where it states within the Bylaws Article IV. Officer Duties Section 6.
The immediate past president shall provide advice and counsel as needed to the president regarding matters pertaining to the administration of the organization.
Proposed substantive amendment: Revise wording by replacing “as needed to” with the words “upon request by” and include additional duties of the immediate past president to read as follows:
Section 6. The immediate past president shall have the following duties:
- To provide advice and counsel, upon request by the president, regarding matters pertaining to the administration of the organization.
- To ensure periodic review of the Executive Board Code of Conduct and other adopted policies and procedures of the organization are conducted by the executive board.
- To serve as a member of the strategic planning committee.
Justification: Proposed amendment provides clarification of the immediate past president’s duties.
The standing committees of NDAB shall be: Awards, Constitution and Bylaws, Convention Planning, Executive, Finance, Fundraising, Legislative and Advocacy, Membership, Nominations, Public Relations and Education, Publication and Communications, Scholarship, Sports and Recreation and Summer Camp.
Proposed substantive amendment: Add the Strategic Planning committee to the alphabetical listing of committees to read as follows:
Section 1. The standing committees of NDAB shall be: Awards, Constitution and Bylaws, Convention Planning, Executive, Finance, Fundraising, Legislative and Advocacy, Membership, Nominations, Public Relations and Education, Publication and Communications, Scholarship, Sports and Recreation, Strategic Planning and Summer Camp.
Justification: This committee was unintentionally omitted during last year’s proposed amendments to NDAB’s committee structure.
Communication submissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: NDAB, PO Box 824, West Fargo, ND 58078
All members are encouraged to submit items of interest to the editor at #471-5004 or email@example.com 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.