Silhouette of people standing together

The Promoter November 2013

December 15th, 2015 by

Official Publication of the North Dakota Association of the Blind

Available in four formats: large print, e-mail, braille and cassette tape

Editor: Kathy Larson              klarson@dia.net

 

“Not he who lacks sight, but he who lacks vision is 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

 

Greetings from the President 2
Favorite Quotes 3
Welcome New NDAB Members 4
A Message from Sherry DeFrancesco 4
NDAB Summer Camp 2013 4
Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 2014 6
Members of our NDAB Family 8
Sharing Some History 9
Street Crossing 10
Member News from Around the State 11
Donations and Memorials 17
NDAB State Convention June 2015 18
Family Adjustment Seminar Update 18
Talking TV Channel Guide 19
Candy’s Corner 22
Braille World Loses a Legend 23
Source for Computers 24
Visus Technology 25
iPhone Innovations 26
TapTapSee 27
BARD Mobile 28
Software Technical Support 28
Legislative Report Fall 2013 29
Living Well With Low Vision 31
Closer to Type 1 Cure 32
Lessons from Geese 33
Trek Down the Colorado River 33
Following Your Call 34
NDAB Leadership Roster 36

 

 

Greetings from the President

 

Hello Team NDAB:

 

I love my time in the outdoors this time of year, all the vibrant colors of orange, red, yellow, and green, cherishing each wonderful fall day of beautiful weather. I love the feel of a nice cool breeze and the contrast of feeling the warmth of the sun on my face; it is a great time of year. Take a few minutes for yourself and enjoy the peace of the outdoors and always try to remember to live in the moment, for time passes much too quickly.

 

“I belong in this place”

To those of you who were at NDAB Summer Camp this year, what a great week! The best part was having such a great bunch of new campers; thank you to all eight of you new campers for taking the leap of faith and attending our NDAB Summer Camp. I hope to see you at camp again next year. Thank you too all those NDAB members who spoke with the new campers and convinced them to spend a week with our NDAB family. For those who were not at camp, you missed another great week and we missed you. I would like to strongly encourage those members who have never been to camp or haven’t been to camp in a few years, to give camp another try; rediscover the magic that is camp, you will never regret it.

 

Thank you to Loris Van Berkom and Rick Feldman and the years of time and dedication you have given to all of us campers and NDAB. Organizing, planning, and running NDAB’s biggest event is not easy and I am grateful for your time, knowledge, and willingness to serve as our co-camp directors. Thank you to the instructors, staff, volunteers, and campers, no matter what your role may have been, for without you camp would not be possible. Thanks to Dan Mimnaugh, Elks Camp Grassick Director. Camp Grassick is a cherished and loved place for NDAB members, and we thank you for sharing your home with us.

 

I belong in this place, this place we call camp and I will always cherish my memories of all of you, for I cannot imagine my life’s path without you and this place. Thank you.

 

“Communication”

Individuals, organizations, and government leaders must learn effective communication skills and practices in order to be successful in life and in whatever kind of relationship, responsibility, or business you are involved with. The United States government shutdown is a perfect example of what happens when individuals are unwilling to communicate and/or haven’t developed effective forms of communication. Regardless of any party affiliation, in recent years there has been a severe communication breakdown in Washington with Congress, the Senate, the President, and us, the American people. The effect of this non-communication is devastating to our country and its citizens / members. Once you get beyond the political rhetoric and blame game, what it all boils down to, is that the shutdown is a direct result of an unwillingness to communicate and poor communication skills or practices.

 

“Shutdown”

Thankfully, the North Dakota Association of the Blind members and leaders are more equipped in communication skills and practices; we care about our people and our organization. I am grateful for the communication we have developed through the use of the Promoter, phone calls, letters, face to face communication with leaders, conventions, and camp. However, in order for our organization to continue to grow and avoid a “Shutdown,” I strongly feel we must not only continue to utilize the above communication practices, but we must also continually develop new, modern, and effective ways of communication.

 

“Create our future, today”

One such communication idea is what Zelda has spoken of as a “Caring Connection.” This involves volunteers of the program connecting with other NDAB members on a consistent basis. I feel this idea has great potential for keeping our members connected and potentially increasing the overall participation in other NDAB’s activities. The NDAB Board continues to discuss this option and is currently under consideration / development.

 

Another form of communication that I strongly feel will be an important part of increasing NDAB’s public awareness, new membership, and potentially improve our ability to retain past or current members is Facebook. Yes, I know, I don’t use it either, but the future of NDAB remains in future generations of member’s whose primary means of communicating is or likely to be some sort of social media. This is how they communicate, and just like how the telephone progressed from its beginnings, to party lines, to today’s smart phones, this form of communication will also grow and change in the future. That’s why I have asked Whitney Engbrecht to develop an unpublished Facebook page for NDAB, to be presented to the NDAB Board on Friday, October 11, 2013 and if approved, Whitney has agreed to be the lead on this project. Whether the board approves to publish an NDAB Facebook page or not, I feel something regarding electronic communication must be done for us to create our future, today.

 

I wish you all faith, hope, health, peace, and love during this holiday season.

 

Let’s create our future today, together!

 

Mark Kueffler, President

 

 

Favorite Quotes

 

I included a couple of quotes in the last Promoter. Here is another favorite of mine:

"Inner guidance is heard like soft music in the night by those who have learned to listen."  --Vernon Howard

 

Thanks to those of you who replied to my invitation to send me your favorites.

 

Helen Baumgartner shared the following:

"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." --G.K. Chesterton

“What we have is God’s gift to us. What we don’t have is God’s plan for us. God does not love us because we are good. We are good because God loves us.” --Fr. Johnson Kuriappilly

“To strengthen the muscles of your heart, the best exercise is lifting someone else’s spirit whenever you can.” --Dodinsky, Author

Accept what is, Let go of what was, & Have faith in what will be.

 

And from Rom Thielman, one of her favorite quotes is on a laminated poster taped to her bedroom door: "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something." --Helen Keller

 

On our very recent trip to Norway, thought-provoking words were on a napkin on a flight from Amsterdam to Bergen: Time flies, but you are the pilot.

On a sign in a guesthouse near Hammerfest we read: The deadline for complaints was yesterday.

 

Send me your favorites for next time.

Kathy Larson, Promoter Editor

 

 

Welcome New NDAB Members

 

NDAB welcomes Mary Jo Hamilton of Minot, Donna Lee Neal of Grand Forks and Lexee Steffan of Dickinson to our membership.

 

 

A Message from Sherry DeFrancesco

 

Greetings from your NDAB Public Relations Chairwoman. I am seeking members of NDAB from various regions around the state to join the NDAB Public Relations Committee in an effort to promote our organization statewide. I am seeking people who are motivated and passionate about NDAB, and those who enjoy traveling around the community, public speaking, organizing events, and hosting informational tables in and around the community.

 

If you are interested and/or have questions, please contact Sherry DeFrancesco either via email at sherrybeth7@gmail.com or telephone 914-720-2319.

 

 

NDAB Summer Camp 2013

 

The 43rd annual NDAB Summer Camp was held August 11-18 at the Elks Camp Grassick. Thirty campers and twenty-two staff made up the fifty-two in attendance. We welcomed eight new campers and two new instructors. The new campers were as follows: Jean Cote from Williston, Mary Jo Hamilton and Roberta Bossie from Minot, Kathryn Loe from Fargo, Grace Sharbono from Devils Lake, Lexee Steffan from Dickinson, Alexandra Engraf from Hettinger, and Robert Gruchala from Minto. Steve Skjei from Williston and Andrea Crary from West Fargo joined the staff. We missed those staff and campers who were unable to attend due to health issues, work Schedules or family commitments.

 

The weather for the week was perfect! Day time temperatures were in the 70’s and 80’s with cool mornings and nights. We don’t appreciate the inconvenience of rain during camp but everything was so dry that the rain would have been very welcomed. There was a planned power outage Friday morning from midnight until 6 a.m. which was a new experience for us at camp.

 

Whitney Engbrecht made the transition from camper to instructor this year. The classes and instructors were as follows: Machine Knitting – Kathy Larson, Lawn Chair Macramé – Helen Baumgartner & David McCloud, Caning – Mike Hoeppner, Basket Weaving – Paula Anundson & Dave Sundeen, Handicrafts – Whitney Engbrecht, Rope Baskets – Karlyn Frantsen & Sheryl Gerhardt, Round Loom Knitting – Loris Van Berkom, Computer – Janice Sowokinos, ND History & Source of Services – Allan Peterson, Walking & over-all helper – Susan Jorgenson, Leisure Activities & Living with Vision Loss – Nancy Kratlz, Eating Right – Missy Miller, Bread Basics – Zelda Gebhard, Chi Gung & New Zealand – Steve Skjei, Strike Up the Band, New Camper Orientation, Zumba, Happiness Project – Janelle Olson & Mark Kueffler, Life Guard – Andrea Crary, Nurse – Kathy Johnson, Co-Directors – Loris Van Berkom & Rick Feldman.

 

The evenings were filled with activities. Sunday night began with our traditional receiving line followed by a mixer that had everyone linking up according to interests or personal traits until we were all linked together with the common bond of vision loss. Rick Feldman hosted the Monday night trivia contest with questions provided by Shereen and Elton Faber. Popcorn was provided and served by Dan Mimnaugh and staff. The winning team received cowboy hats, Trail Mix, a can of pork and beans and a promise of getting a horse delivered to their home the following week. On Tuesday night, Helen hosted blackjack in the Rec Hall and Nancy called bingo in Cabin #7. Wednesday night was filled with the casino night gift exchange followed by hayrides sponsored by Dan. Thursday evening began with a great talent show hosted by Mark Kueffler and ended with a pizza party in the Dining Hall. The Friday night banquet, planned by Kathryn Schmidt and her daughter Danielle Irving, was centered on a western theme. We were taken back to the Old West as we feasted on cowboy vittles and listened to stories about days gone by. The Jim Geiger Band rounded out the night with great dancing and listening music. Auctioneer Rich Fadness along with help from Randy Tank and other NDAB members conducted our Saturday night auction where we took in $6,136 for the actual items sold plus another $1,012 in monetary donations for a grand total of $7,148.

 

We invite guests to visit on Wednesday from vision related agencies, and we were pleased to welcome several visitors this year. Paul Olson from NDSV/School for the Blind in Grand Forks brought Jesse Shirek and Sherry DeFrancesco and her dog Millie from Fargo. Mike Beck Vision Rehab Specialist from Bismarck also came. Kevin Vannett along with his wife Pat and friend Phyllis Mueller came from Bismarck bringing with them items to demonstrate and sell from The Low Vision store in Mandan owned by Kevin and Dennis Baumgartner. Olga Neal and her daughter Donna Lee came from Grand Forks to renew old friendships.

 

Sunday morning devotions, planned by Rom Thielman, preceded a great breakfast of eggs, sausage, biscuits and caramel rolls. Our final good-bye’s via our receiving line brought closure to our week.

 

There are so many thanks to extend after such a successful week because it takes the entire group working together to make it happen! Thanks to all of the instructors who spend many hours before camp begins preparing and then working diligently all week. Thanks to all of the campers who faithfully attend the classes and contribute their personalities into the mix. Thanks to Janelle for waking us up in the morning with coronet melodies and for leading the flag raising, to Doug and Mary Stip for holding the dining hall doors open as we went in and out for each meal and evening activity, to Nancy for sharing readings each morning, to the NDAB Concert & Marching Band for sharing musical talents as they marched parade style up and down the hill, to Clowns Missy and Mike and Parade Marshall Dan who added to the parade festivities, to Rosie Landsem and Ruthie Poer for lining up people to lead the table grace for each meal, to Zelda Gebhard and her Bread Basics students for all of the delicious bread they shared for meals and for the auction, and to all those who hosted the evening activities. Thanks to   everyone in the Road Crew who faithfully worked hard setting up and tearing down for all of the activities. Thanks to Ruth Phalen and her set-up crew for the auction, to Rich Fadness and his helpers for conducting the auction and to everyone else who helped with the auction with their time, talent and money. A special thanks to Dan for so efficiently and graciously hosting us at the Elks Camp Grassick and to the cooks and kitchen staff for providing such scrumptious meals and snacks along with such great service!

 

After a great week in this magical place, we left Camp Grassick revived and refreshed and ready to face another 51 weeks in the sighted world. We keep our memories from the week close in our hearts and look forward to next summer when we can meet again along the shores of Lake Isabel!

 

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom & Rick Feldman, Co-Camp Directors

 

 

Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 2014

Submitted by Dave Sundeen and Jesse Shirek

 

It’s time to start thinking about signing up for the 35th annual Black Hills Regional Ski for Light event! It is an excellent opportunity to experience downhill, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The dates for this year’s event are: registration on Sunday January 19th, skiing the week of Monday Jan. 20th through Thursday January 23rd with the banquet taking place Thursday evening and hotel check-out Friday morning January 24th. If you would like to visit with a yearly participant about the event, you are encouraged to contact Dave Sundeen at 701-847-3139.

 

In previous years, a bus has been chartered to the annual event and we would like to do so again this year. We would like to send out a special thank-you to Judy’s Leisure Tours for arranging for the charter bus for departure from various communities in North Dakota. The bus will depart Sunday January 19th and return on Friday January 24th. It is an excellent opportunity to sit back, relax, visit, sleep and leave the driving to an expert. There is room for participants, volunteers and space to store your luggage. Sign-up early to reserve a seat on the bus, tickets for the bus will cost $15 round-trip and part of the $15 will be used to ensure a reservation on the bus. Make your non-refundable check or money order payable to: North Dakota Association of the Blind and mail to Helen Baumgartner, Treasurer, NDAB, 402 12th Ave NW, Mandan, ND  58554.

 

Black Hills Regional Ski for Light has e-mailed or mailed out applications for the event. The cost for the event for one week is $200. This includes five nights lodging based upon double occupancy, four lunch meals, one evening meal and a banquet ticket. The $200 also covers all equipment rentals. Please note that Black Hills Regional Ski for Light may be providing partial scholarships for those who qualify for financial need. To obtain an application for a scholarship please contact Tracy Perdue at 605-341-3626. All scholarships must be approved by the Ski for Light board. Please note that in order to receive a scholarship you must be willing to share a room with another Ski for Light participant. The application deadline for this year is November 30th. All applications will be processed on a first-come first-serve basis, so you are encouraged to get your application in as soon as possible.

 

Jesse Shirek, Vision Rehabilitation Specialist is assisting with the coordination of the event between NDAB and North Dakota Vision Services; he may be contacted at 1-701-739-0946, 1-800-421-1181 or e-mailed at jshirek@nd.gov. Please contact Jesse for assistance with applications, raffle tickets, bus transportation from North Dakota or any other questions regarding the event.

 

I have something special that I want to announce to all of you reading this article. I am elated to be able to share a personal milestone with you!!! Sherry and I will be getting married at the 2014 Ski for Light event!!! SFL is very special to both of us, as it is where we first met and fell in love. At this time we are planning to say our vows in front of the bonfire at the cross-country area. We would like to invite you to come and celebrate our love with us, as we commit our lives to each other.

 

Black Hills Regional Ski for Light 2014 will be a great place to connect with old friends and give you the opportunity to make some new ones. We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

Members of our NDAB Family

 

Bob Vandal of Bismarck has been under the weather, battling infections with in-and-out hospital stays. Please remember him in your thoughts and prayers.

 

Becky Monroe had one of her kidneys removed September 9th. Pathology results revealed that there were no cancer cells present as previously thought, but it was very infected so the surgery was certainly necessary. She extends many thanks for the cards, calls and prayers.

 

We have lost another NDAB member, Merle Willard, who always looked forward to coming to camp, and a very active supporter of the Williston Vision Support Group

Merle Willard, 72, a longtime Williston resident, formerly of Epping, passed away Saturday night, July 27, 2013, at the VA Hospital in Fargo, ND. Merle Clifford Willard was born March 20, 1941 to Milo and Gladys (French) Willard in Williston, North Dakota. The first eleven years of Merle’s life were spent in Epping, where he attended grade school through the sixth grade. The family then moved to Williston and Merle attended and graduated from Williston High School. Merle served in the United States Army and was honorably discharged from the service. He returned to Williston and worked as a welder at Clausen’s Welding and Sorenson Drilling. He was a member of the National Rifle Association, the North Dakota Association of the Blind and Fort Union Muzzle Loaders. Merle is survived by his sister, Sara L. West of Chandler, AZ; two nephews, Craig (Vicky) Willard and Scott Willard both of Williston, ND; one niece Kristy Willard of Williston, ND; two aunts, Mildred King of Salem, OR and Eva Arcand of Williston, ND; and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, Milo and Gladys Willard; and one brother, Henry “Hank” Willard.

 

We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Dick Veal on the lost of his daughter Jeanne. Jeanne Marie Wengel, 60, Minot, formerly of Bismarck, died Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in her home surrounded by her family.

 

Jeanne was born Aug. 25, 1953, at Bismarck, the daughter of G. Richard and Ina (Kavonius) Veal. She was raised and educated at Bismarck and graduated from Bismarck High School in 1971. She attended Minot State University for one year prior to her marriage to Richard Wengel on July 15, 1973, in Bismarck.

 

Jeanne and Richard made their home in Minot. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Minot, where she was actively involved in the music ministry and Ruth Circle. She and Richard were members of the Western North Dakota Bluegrass and the Old Time Music Association. Together they formed the musical group called "Southwind" and played at various functions in and around Minot.

 

Jeanne enjoyed music, especially playing instruments such as the auto harp and guitar. She loved camping, reading, handcrafts and photography, along with doing her needlework.

 

Her loving family includes: husband of 40 years, Richard; daughter, Rhonda Cook, of Minot; grandson, Caleb Cook, Minot; and her father, G. Richard Veal, of Bismarck.

 

Jeanne was preceded in death by her mother and an infant brother, Duane.

 

 

We have lost still another former NDAB member whom many of you will remember. Evelyn Sybilla Schumacher, 93, Kenmare, died Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, at Kenmare Community Hospital.

 

Evelyn was born on Nov. 17, 1919, in Minot, the daughter of Lawrence and Regina (Linnertz) Goebel. She was reared in the Minot area and educated at St. Leo's Catholic School. She spent several years in Van Nuys, Calif., working at an aircraft plant for the war effort.

 

Evelyn was united in marriage to George Schumacher on Oct. 14, 1947, in Minot. The couple made their home on a farm southwest of Kenmare where they raised four children. She attended the North Dakota School for the Blind in Grand Forks where she learned braille and white cane mobility. She enjoyed cooking, baking, canning and doing crafts such as caning chairs, crocheting baby blankets, afghans and yarn dogs. Evelyn loved family holidays, going camping with her family, skiing with her blind group and entertaining. During retirement, both Evelyn and George enjoyed traveling and being snowbirds in Arizona. Her favorite quote was, "A blind person can do anything a sighted person can do."

 

Evelyn was a member of St. Agnes Catholic Church, of Kenmare, Village Neighbors Homemaker Club and North Dakota Association of the Blind.

 

She was preceded in death by: her husband George, who died in 2010; brothers, Leonard, Joseph, Casper and Leon Goebel; sisters, Eleanora, Angeline and baby infant; and sister-in-law, Cora Goebel; and son-in-law, James Burbidge.

 

 

Sharing Some History

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom

 

In 1964, NDAB developed a six-week summer school session designed to help adults who were newly blinded adjust to their vision loss. I attended that program in 1966. At that time, I was not aware that it was sponsored by NDAB. This was my first exposure to braille, typing and cane travel. I also had cooking, sewing and ceramics classes. It was held at the YWCA in Fargo under the direction of Charlie and Ester Kauffman.

 

In 1971, a one-week summer camp program was initiated which replaced the previous summer school session. For two years, it was held at a camp facility by Lake Ashtabula. There weren’t any sidewalks so ropes were strung between buildings to encourage and promote independent mobility.

 

In 1973, Don Neal drove Darrell (Dutch) Kline, Lloyd Robertson and George Iszler around the state to find another camp facility to rent for the NDAB Summer Camp. The Elks Camp Grassick on Lake Isabel near Dawson, ND, was chosen and our camp sessions have continued there for the last 41 years.

 

The Elks Camp Grassick serves children and some adults with disabilities in camp sessions throughout the summer. NDAB rents the facility for a week when Camp Grassick sessions are completed. We bring in all of our own staff with the exception of the cooks, servers and maintenance staff. At this time, NDAB pays a fee of $250 per person for room and board. All programming and activities are planned and carried out by the NDAB camp staff. An auction is held the last evening of camp to help defray camp expenses.

 

I started attending camp in 1984 and have only missed one year since then. I am so thankful for those who went before me and saw the need and value of a week-long summer program. NDAB Summer Camp has had a profound effect on my life and started me on the road to accepting my vision loss. I have seen the difference that this very special week has made in the lives of countless individuals. Thank you NDAB for continuing to provide financial support and leadership to carry out this invaluable program.

 

 

Street Crossing
Acting on concerns, Fargo works to replace 'chirping' signals for the blind
Erik Burgess - 10/04/2013

FARGO – When Sherry DeFrancesco moved from New York to Fargo in January, she wasn’t too concerned about navigating around town. DeFrancesco is blind, and has been for half of her life, but with training and help from a guide dog, she lived independently for years in pedestrian-friendly New York City. DeFrancesco was confident she could handle the streets in much smaller Fargo, until she encountered South University Drive. The intersection at University Drive and 25th and 24th avenues south is a complicated knot of turn lanes, medians and awkwardly curving roads amid a thundering sea of cars. An estimated 25,000 cars travel on South University Drive each day, with another 4,000 to 7,000 cars on 25th Avenue South daily, according to the city. It’s an intersection that’s difficult to maneuver for a pedestrian with perfect vision, let alone one that is blind, said DeFrancesco, public relations spokeswoman for the North Dakota Association of the Blind. “I was like blown away at the intersection,” she said. “It was just very, very scary for me to cross.” DeFrancesco called the city for help, and now Fargo will install a sophisticated pedestrian signal at the intersection that talks to pedestrians and lets them know when to cross and when to wait. ‘Gold standard’ It’s a pedestrian crossing system that’s become the “gold standard” nationwide and will now be the standard in Fargo, replacing the antiquated “chirpers” familiar to walkers downtown, said Jeremy Gorden, the city’s transportation engineer. Gorden said the city plans to remove or simply turn off the chirping mechanisms, which were the standard five or six years ago, and install the new systems when it can. Residents can probably expect the new pedestrian signals downtown when the city digs up NP Avenue next summer to replace aging infrastructure, he said. “The signal systems are evolving,” Gorden said. “There was never even chirpers before. Before, there was nothing to help the blind.” This is how the new signals work: A pedestrian who wants to cross the street pushes the button as they normally would. A voice from across the street tells the pedestrian either to wait or to cross. There is also an audible countdown that warns the pedestrian when the light is going to change, unlike the chirpers, which just quit chirping. “They don’t help us cross the street,” DeFrancesco said of the chirpers. “What they do is they tell you when the light changes.” Gorden said the chirpers were installed because a blind resident requested them a few years ago. There are about 20 intersections in Fargo with chirpers, most of them downtown. While they were standard years ago, chirpers can actually be dangerous, Gorden and DeFrancesco say. In a dense downtown with buildings on each corner, the chirping noise can bounce off walls, confusing a blind pedestrian by hindering their ability to listen to the traffic flow, DeFrancesco said. The voice is more targeted with the new system and directed at the corner where the pedestrian is standing, Gorden said. “They speak to you pretty much constantly the whole time,” he said. Quick response The new systems are more expensive. It cost about $1,000 per intersection to install chirpers a few years ago. A new talking system will cost $6,000 to $8,000 per intersection, Gorden said. The city has about 170 traffic signals. “It would be pretty cost-prohibitive to do it everywhere,” he said, “but where they’re requested and needed, we’ll put them in.” DeFrancesco said she is grateful the city responded so quickly, and that she and her fiancé, who has a partial visual impairment, want to continue working with the city to find other intersections that need improving, such as those along the busy 13th Avenue South corridor. She said she hopes other cities across the state take notice that the chirping signals can be dangerous. “We want to work together with the city, with Jeremy, to identify these intersections that are dangerous,” DeFrancesco said. “I believe that the city is committed to working with us.” Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518

 

Member News from Around the State

 

Bismarck News

By Bob Vandal

 

Hello everyone from Bismarck, Mandan and the surrounding area! Has it been a little cooler lately or what. We just got into summer so there is no way we can be in fall already!

 

Bobby Westermeyer was the first one that made the mistake of answering his phone when I called and therefor he is the first to pass on the following information/news.

 

Bobby participated in the Tesoro Fishing Tournament on September 20. He did not have a lot of luck but had a good time. There were around 25 participants and it sounded like everyone had a good time.

 

If you didn't already know, Bobby is a philosopher as well as an outdoors man. He gave this to me, “Perhaps it is the best of times when Mr. Robotco has too much time on his hands.” Another one from Bobby goes like this, “Taxes are the price we pay to let others do our worrying for us.”

 

The V.I.P. Group or the Meat N Eat Group, as Bobby calls it, met at Jack's Steak House last month. In October, they will meet at 6:30 p.m. at China Town.

 

Mavis Anderson will be with us for a very, very long time. The family has a history of longevity. In July Mavis and two daughters traveled to Minnesota to help her sister celebrate her one hundred and second birthday! There was, in addition, another sister and four kids and their families as well. Congratulations to Mavis' sister. Mavis, we look forward to jawing with you for a good many years to come. In the meantime Mavis said that her vision is stable. She is still volunteering at the Heritage Center, although it has not reopened yet. When it does, it will double in size from what it had been. Hmmmm that sounds like my weight. There has been a delay because of construction.

 

Bev Austin has to be one of the nicest and funniest ladies I know. She is not an owl but she is a hoot. Bev has been attending camp for several years. This year without question Bev hit a milestone, for after three years she completed her stocking cap. Now I don't want to get too technical for you, but from what I understand, you take a round loom dohinky thing with pegs and you string some yarn on it. How did I do? I think I am ready to teach the class!!!!! For those that attend camp, you already know how talented a lady Bev is. She is very crafty and she is very musically inclined, for she plays not only the washboard but also the gourd thing-a-ma jig. There I go getting technical again.

 

The VIP group was scheduled to meet at our place in August for a picnic, but due to heat and the fact that I just had surgery on my foot, we canceled. I didn't think it would have been nice to leave all the work to Vangie. I know I'm just that kind of a guy.

 

As some of you know, my daughter attends Berklee College of Music in Boston. This is her fourth year. I was on the phone with her around the middle of August when all of a sudden the phone went dead. When I thought of what I had heard, I got scared for I thought I had heard her scream. I could not reach her so I had to wait for her. She finally called back on her room mate’s cell phone and said some guy came up from behind her and hit her in the face and body a few times and stole her phone and ran off. The bruises are healed and she is a little wiser but a lot more mistrusting.

 

Well fellow NDAB members, I want to say Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Talk to you NEXT YEAR!

 

 

Fargo News                                

By Shereen Faber

 

Heart warmed greetings to all. Thank you once again for all the prayers because as of last issue things had only just begun. I just about lost my life and within two days of losing my left leg, but because of all the prayers, miracles truly happened. It was such a nice surprise to receive the prayer quilt from the Grand Forks group led by Connie Osowski. Between being in the hospital and a nursing home, I was gone from my home for five weeks. On August 26, I had my freedom. It was wonderful to be back at home, easing into things, getting back to cooking and sleeping in my own bed. I am still healing, but all in all I am doing very well.

 

As I wrote in the last issue, our Trollwood Performance this summer was the musical "Shrek." I was so excited to go with so many members of my family, but the night we were to go it got rained out. The following weekend that everybody went I was back in the hospital, but I understand that it was one of the best. In September, the Tin Roof Company performed “School House” which was set in 1938 and will be one of those plays that I will just never forget. It really portrayed the difficulties a teacher can have with their students, how she handles the students, and just how much of an influence a teacher can have on their lives. There was also a performance done at the very end of September; it was a parody of "The Hound of the Baskervilles." Candy and Terry Lien, and Jesse and Sherry attended this play.

 

Michelle and Larry planted a very nice garden here in Fargo this year, and now with harvesting the produce, Michelle has shared some of her vegetables with us and they have been very good. Thank you Michelle and Larry.

 

I spoke with Dorranna Robertson on the phone; she still resides at Villa Maria in Fargo. We had a nice visit and she seems to be doing well. If you would like to chat with Dorranna, her phone number is (701) 232-4329.

 

In closing, I hope everyone has a wonderful fall and Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Well, I hope that covers everything and just thanks again to everybody!

 

 

Grand Forks News

By Angie Marciniak

 

Krista Doubek - Krista asks for continued prayer.

 

Marilyn Egeland shares the following recipe:

“Minnesota Sundae”

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Sprinkle of sunflower seeds

Honey lightly drizzled on top

 

Renae Huseby – Renae and Gary are doing well. Renae is currently serving her community by making lefse along with others at Sharon Lutheran Church. The very popular lefse made will be sold on Saturday, November 2nd beginning at 10am when the bazaar opens. Gary is enjoying driving for Hertz car rentals. Olga and Renae are looking forward to Rom's visit later this month. Renae and Gary are looking forward to traveling south to Texas shortly after Christmas.

 

Angie Marciniak – On Saturday, September 7th Angie had a wonderful time celebrating with her sister Sara and new brother-in-law on their wedding day. She was blessed by being a bridesmaid.

 

 

Minot News

By Doug and Mary Stip

 

Wanda Wigness is taking a trip to Arizona, and Lenny Haabak is keeping busy with his music.

 

Mary Jo Hamilton is busy with family, and two of her grandsons are in hockey.

 

Connie Springsted is home and doing well physically, but her vision has gotten worse. Her sister is staying with her. She would love to hear from you so give her a call sometime at 838-3909.

 

Dianne Giessinger went to New York during the heat wave, and survived it.

 

Carol Schmitt celebrated her granddaughter Sidney’s second birthday September 29th. She’s retiring as of the end of October and looking forward to it.

 

After camp, Mary went to Fergus Falls for a few days to visit relatives. Her son Chad came for an overnight visit in September. Her eight-year-old granddaughter Ava is in hockey, and twelve-year-old Jenna is in volleyball.

 

Høstfest week found us busy helping the Red Cross by making “spud hogs.” It was an enjoyable event. This was the first time we had ever volunteered for Høstfest. Volunteering has its perks! This year the opening ceremonies before the Frank Sinatra Jr. concert honored the veritable army of volunteers, past and present, who helped make the festival possible.

 

If anyone has any news for Minot in the next issue, please contact us. Hard to believe it but it won’t be too long until the holidays. Have a blessed holiday season, everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Williston Wanderings Fall 2013

Submitted by Loris Van Berkom

 

Where did the summer go? Fall is here and the days are getting very short.

 

Our vision support group continues to meet the second Saturday of the month at noon at Gramma Sharon’s Family Restaurant for a no-host luncheon. We are always looking for new people to join us.

 

Carol Scallon is teaching kindergarten again at Stony Creek, a rural elementary school just a few miles east of Williston. She is enjoying her thirteen students and appreciates her new principal.

 

We were thrilled to welcome Jean Cote as a first time camper. Her peanut brittle, which is a secret recipe, was a hit at the auction. She and her daughter can be found at craft sales this fall selling peanut brittle along with other sweet treats.

 

Linda Oyloe is now on a maintenance chemo regiment every three weeks in Bismarck. She has to be very careful to avoid any germs that could attack her weakened immune system due to the treatments.

 

Luella Asleson celebrated her 91st birthday October 10th. She lives in an apartment in an assisted living facility here in Williston.

 

Sheryl and Dan Gerhardt packed up all of their belongings, sold their home and left Williston on October 1st. Their son David flew here from Kentucky to help them with the move. They will be living with him and his family until they get their own place close to them. Their son Danny Paul and wife hosted a farewell party for them at their home on the evening of September 30th. They plan to be back in North Dakota at the end of May for a granddaughter’s graduation and staying north throughout the summer so Sheryl can attend our summer camp in August. Below is there current address:

 

Dan and Sheryl Gerhardt

2165 Greensburg Road

Campbellsville KY  42718

Cell (701) 651-0149

 

Susan Jorgenson and her husband Glen took a road trip in September to visit one of her sisters in Greenville, South Carolina. They will be flying to Munich, Germany, before Thanksgiving to board a Viking cruise ship at Passau or the “City of Three Rivers”, located in Lower Bavaria, for an eight day cruise on the Danube River. They will stop at ports along the way and disembark the ship in Budapest, Hungary.

 

Janelle Olson has once again taken up flying, but this time she forgot to tell her guardian angel her plans. A tumble off her front steps resulted in a trip to ER in the ambulance, ending with a chipped ankle, a stylish black boot and crutches. In all fairness, it was dark and her hands were full of bags, so her cane was not present. She and her husband traveled to Chicago in October for a week to visit their son Matt and to attend the play “Pleasant Dreams,” of which he was the Artistic Director and Set Designer.

 

Brenda Bruins and her family will be flying to Arizona in December to spend a week at her brother Alan & wife Sheri’s winter home. They will be back home again in time for Christmas.

 

Brenda wanted to share the following recipes. One is from the cooks at Camp Grassick and one was given to her by Zelda Gebhard:

 

Nut Roll Bars

From the cooks at Camp Grassick 2013

16 oz. jar of peanuts

10 ½ oz. bag miniature marshmallows

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3 tablespoons margarine

1 package Peanut butter chips

Melt chips & margarine in microwave until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add condensed milk & marshmallows to melted chips and stir. Return to microwave and heat until marshmallows are soft. Put half of the peanuts on the bottom of a 9X13 pan.  Pour mixture over the peanuts and add remaining peanuts on top. Store in the fridge.

 

Zelda Gebhard’s Meatballs

2 lbs. lean hamburger

1 box chicken Stove Top dressing

1 cup water

2 eggs

Pepper to taste

Mix and shape into meatballs (no need to fry). Place into a 9 X 13 pan.

 

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 Can beef broth

1/2 package dry onion soup mix

Pour over meatballs and bake for 1 hour at 350

Enjoy!

 

Kathy and Stan Larson enjoyed a fifteen day Norwegian Coastal Voyage in October aboard the msNordlys, experiencing the fjord-filled and spectacular west coast from Bergen to Kirkenes that borders Russia. They crossed the Arctic Circle, Cruise the Lofoten Islands, visited Tromsø, capital of Arctic Norway, and stood at the “top of the world” at North Cape, Europe's northernmost point. They strolled in Honningsvag, a harbor town rebuilt after devastating German bombing in WWII, and especially enjoyed visits from relatives who came on board at four different ports. After a quick two-day rest at home, they flew to Denver for granddaughter Celessa’s college graduation. Kathy’s newest challenge and accomplishment was getting on Facebook. Hurrah,” she says!

 

I am still searching for a new project to take the place of my part-time Para position. So far, working out daily at Curves and making numerous cap and scarf sets on my round looms are not as fulfilling as my previous job. I am still waiting for the carpenter to remodel my basement after the May flood. My son and son-in-law gutted it and started putting up sheetrock the first weekend in August but it hasn’t been touched since then. I really don’t wish for winter weather but that is what it will take to get the carpenter to stop his outside projects and move inside to work in my basement. Until then, I’m trying to practice patience.

 

We send warm wishes to all of our NDAB friends for a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Until next time, stay warm! Winter is coming!

 

 

Donations and Memorials

Submitted by Helen Baumgartner

 

Since the last issue of the Promoter, NDAB has received memorials from the following:

Loris Van Berkom, Janelle Olson, Stan and Kathy Larson – in memory of Merle Willard

Missy Miller and Janice Baker – in memory of Lillian Ellingson

Missy Miller – in memory of Ray Baker

Total Memorials:  $100

Since the last Promoter, NDAB has received donations from the following:

Marion Kyllo – sale of a vehicle resulting in a donation of $5,750

Boeing Corporation - $325

Total Donations:  $6,075

 

 

NDAB State Convention  June 2015

The board is  looking for an alternative location to have our 2015 convention. The reason for this change is a result of  the oil boom which has caused the room rates to soar in Williston, the city next on the normal rotation after Fargo which is the location for the 2014 convention.

This presents an opportunity for those of us not living in one of the usual host locations of Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismarck, Williston and Minot to serve on a convention committee.    We are currently checking into hotel availability and room rates in Jamestown, Valley City and Carrington but we are opening the committee up to any member living anywhere in the state.

If you have always wanted to be on a convention host committee and just never had an opportunity to do so because of where you live, now is your chance.  Neither Paula Anundson nor I have been on a convention planning committee because of where we live and we have volunteered to co-chair the group.  We would like you to join us.  There is a limit to how many we can have on this committee so don't delay.  If you are interested, call one of us today.

Zelda Gebhard, 701-493-2399 or Paula Anundson 701-490-0888.

 

 

Family Adjustment Seminar Update

Submitted by Janelle F. Olson

 

As I sit down to write the article for this issue of the Promoter, the melody of a 1960’s folk tune keeps rolling through my head. I believe it was sung by Peter, Paul and Mary. Okay, so for some of you younger readers, I may be dating myself, but it is my guess that a bunch of you will remember the song, “Where have all the flowers gone?” It could be sung today in regard to the 2013 scheduled Family Adjustment Seminar and be pertinent with just one slight word change. The word is “people” and my question to you is, “Where have all the people gone?”

 

The scheduled Seminar, which was set for Saturday, October 12th at the Comfort Inn in Bismarck, did not take place as only one family unit  committed to attend. Notification was put in the Bismarck paper. Names of possible participants which were provided were called, and then called again. Letters of information were sent out to those who were potentially interested and more calls made and when all was said and done, it was canceled for lack of interest.

 

I think many of us in NDAB have witnessed first hand the power of connecting with others who are in the middle of dealing with vision loss through this forum. I think this is such a great, unique event and I know of none other like it, but the reality is, we can’t share or connect with people who aren’t there.

 

Where or when the next Family Adjustment Seminar will be scheduled is up in the air at this time. In the meantime, keep in mind you as an NDAB member are the best advertisement for getting out the word about this project. Share your story with someone who is struggling with sight loss. Tell people about NDAB, the Seminar and if you think they may be interested, give me their contact information.

 

 

Blind Comcast Exec Developing a Talking TV Channel Guide

 

Comcast Corp. has hired a sight-challenged executive, Tom Wlodskowski, Vice President/Accessibility, to develop a "talking TV interface" for the blind and other accessible products for the disabled. The talking TV guide could be out in 2014 as part of X2 channel guide and available for everyone.  ( CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer )

 

How does a blind person find what to "watch" on a TV with 200 channels and 46,000 video-on-demand choices of movies, shows, and clips? Tom Wlodkowski, a blind executive at Comcast Corp., thinks he has the answer: a talking TV channel guide.

No joke.

 

"The television is not strictly as visual a medium as you might think," said David Goldfield, a computer technology instructor at the Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. "Radio drama in the U.S. is more or less dead. If you are blind and you want a good story, you're still going to get it on television."

Comcast expects the talking guide to come with its next-generation X2 platform in 2014. The cable giant demonstrated the talking guide this year at a California technology conference and at the cable-TV-industry trade show in Washington.

Comcast also market-tested the guide with 20 average-Joe-type sight-impaired individuals in Philadelphia, arranged by the Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

 

The interactive, cloud-based guide - the current voice is a woman, but users eventually could choose the voice, as they can with a ring tone - responds to buttons the person pushes.

 

This is part of a year-old project at Comcast to make the company's products more accessible to customers with disabilities. Wlodkowski has an "accessibility" team and will soon have a lab in the Comcast Center.

Comcast isn't doing this just to reach out to the nation's 1.3 million blind individuals who fear being left behind as popular culture and media go digital on the Internet and TV.

 

The Twenty-First Century Communications and Accessibility Act of 2010, passed on the 20-year anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, is forcing technology companies to integrate accessibility functions into products. It's believed that, in three years, talking interfaces will have to come with TV products.

Wlodkowski thinks he also can drive business. People with disabilities account for $200 billion in discretionary spending power, and catering to their needs, he believes, can boost brand loyalty. "We will meet the requirements of the law, but we also believe there can be innovation," he said.

 

Wlodkowski is looking to develop products that could help older Americans "age in place" through the Xfinity home products, which now include home security.

Generally, technology companies - with the exception of Apple Inc. - have received poor marks in the selling of blind-friendly products.

 

"We see it as a civil right, and we see manufacturers embracing accessibility way too slowly," Lauren McLarney, government affairs specialist at the National Federation of the Blind, said of consumer electronics and technology companies. Comcast's talking guide sounds "worthwhile," but she hasn't seen it.

 

The association offers a channel guide by zip code called "newsline" that last year was accessed 600,000 times.

 

Before the talking guide, Wlodkowski said, he would have to recognize Matt Lauer's voice at NBC or Anderson Cooper on CNN. He also memorized channel numbers. But most times, he had no idea what was on the channel.

 

"The only way I could navigate TV before," Wlodkowski said, "was to go up and down the channels and listen until I found something that I liked."

 

Recently, he was fiddling with a talking TV guide and stumbled on Brady Bunch reruns. "They still syndicate that? Wow," he said.

 

Formerly with AOL Inc., Wlodkowski is the vice president of accessibility and said his team at Comcast had four goals:

To seek information from disabled customers about what they need and how they interact with Comcast's products.

To integrate functionality into products so they can be more easily used by disabled subscribers.

To introduce specific products, such as the talking guide.

To enhance customer service for disabled subscribers.

 

Wlodkowski, who was born blind, was raised in Southington, Conn., with three older brothers. His parents insisted on a regular childhood. He rode a bike in the neighborhood, skied with a guide, and marched in the marching band (he beat the snare drum).

 

His most popular sitcom was Cheers because, he said, "it was relatively easy to follow. When Norm walked in, everybody said, 'Hi, Norm.' "

 

He attended Boston College, majoring in communications. His first media job was with WGBH, the public broadcasting station in Boston. While there, Wlodkowski developed, with a federal grant from the Department of Education, a prototype of a talking TV interface. It was never commercialized.

 

Wlodkowski said he was happy to be back in a city with mass transit and lives in an apartment at 17th and Arch Streets. His wife, Michele, and 15-year-old son, Colin, will relocate from Virginia, and he intends to buy a suburban home near a rail line.

 

One challenging experience in Philadelphia has been mastering the elevators at the sky-high Comcast Center. There are more than 30 elevators, and some go only to certain floors. "Catching the elevator in this place," Wlodkowski said, "is an art that I don't think I have figured out."

 

Bob Fernandez, Inquirer Staff Writer

www.inquirer.com

 

 

CANDY’S CORNER

 

Overnight Oatmeal

INGREDIENTS
1 container (6 oz) greek yogurt, any flavor
1/4 cup uncooked old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup fruit (see ideas below)

Instructions:
In container with tight-fitting cover, mix yogurt and uncooked oats. Stir in desired fruit. Cover; refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 3 days before eating.

*Passionate Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup raspberries.
*Energized Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup mandarin orange segments.
*Positive Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup pineapple pieces.
*Harmonious Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup diced kiwifruit.
*Relaxed Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup blueberries.
*Romantic Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup sliced grapes.
*Stir-ins German Chocolate Cake Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1 tablespoon chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut. Calories 250 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 5g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 0mg; Potassium 140mg; Total Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 8g
*S'mores Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1 tablespoon chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons miniature marshmallows. Calories 240 (Calories from Fat 40); Total Fat 4.5g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 5mg; Potassium 110mg; Total Carbohydrate 42g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 8g
*Bananas Foster Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1/2 sliced banana and 1 tablespoon chocolate chips. Calories 280 (Calories from Fat 40); Total Fat 4.5g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 0mg; Potassium 320mg; Total Carbohydrate 50g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 8g
*Peanut Butter Cup Overnight Oatmeal: Stir in 1 tablespoon each chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Calories 270 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 30mg; Potassium 150mg; Total Carbohydrate 42g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 9g
*Stir-ins Pomegranate Power Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds. Calories 230 (Calories from Fat 25); Total Fat 2.5g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 60mg; Potassium 180mg; Total Carbohydrate 34g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 16g
*Honey Power Oatmeal: Stir in 1 tablespoon honey or 2 tablespoons comb honey.* Calories 260 (Calories from Fat 20); Total Fat 2g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 60mg; Potassium 90mg; Total Carbohydrate 43g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 16g
*Banana Power Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup banana slices. Calories 220 (Calories from Fat 20); Total Fat 2g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 55mg; Potassium 210mg; Total Carbohydrate 34g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 16g
*Almond Power Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup toasted almonds. Calories 330 (Calories from Fat 120); Total Fat 13g (Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 55mg; Potassium 240mg; Total Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 21g

*Blueberry Power Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup blueberries. Calories 210 (Calories from Fat 20); Total Fat 2g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 55mg; Potassium 105mg; Total Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 16g
*Blackberry Power Oatmeal: Stir in 1/4 cup blackberries. Calories 200 (Calories from Fat 20); Total Fat 2.5g (Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 55mg; Potassium 135mg; Total Carbohydrate 29g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 16g
*Those with bee sting allergies should consult their physician before consuming comb honey.

To toast almonds, sprinkle in ungreased heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until almonds begin to brown, then stirring constantly until almonds are light brown.

Via: Betty Crocker

Many of you may have already learned of the death of Dr. Abraham Nemeth, the inventor of the Nemeth Code for Mathematics and Science Notation. I wanted to share a little bit about what I know about the life of this remarkable pioneer. I was privileged to hear him speak at the “Getting in Touch with Literacy” conference in Costa Mesa, CA, in November of 2009. He was 90 years old at the time, and still as sharp as a tack, with a great sense of humor. He spoke about his childhood in New York City. He said that his father taught him to read print letters and numbers by using license plates and embossed signage on buildings. His parents encouraged independence by sending him on errands to the corner store. He had a passion for mathematics, but was dissuaded from majoring in math in college because he was blind. Instead, he pursued a degree in psychology. But his heart was always with math, and finally, after being encouraged by his wife to follow his dream, he studied math at the college level, eventually attaining a Ph.D. in the subject. His ability to read and write print, even though he was totally blind, stood him in good stead when he got a job teaching math to sighted World War II vets at Brooklyn College. He was able to write on the blackboard well enough for his students to read it. He sent out dozens of application letters to universities around the country, but was accepted by only one: the University of Detroit. He developed his own math code to assist him in his studies. Soon other visually impaired people learned about his method and asked him to teach it to them. The rest is history! Dr. Nemeth’s code has enabled many people with sight loss to successfully learn higher mathematics in high school and college and to become mathematicians and scientists. It is impossible to quantify the impact he has had on the lives of people who are blind or who have low vision. Thank you, Dr. Nemeth, for sharing your genius with the world! May he rest in eternal peace, along with Louis Braille and other pioneers in the field of literacy.

 

 

Braille World Loses a Legend

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) is saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Abraham Nemeth on October 2, 2013. Dr. Nemeth passed away in his home in Southfield, Michigan. He was 94 years old.

Abraham Nemeth was born October 16, 1918, in New York City, NY. He is best known for the development of a braille code for mathematics. The Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation was originally adopted in 1956 and is an official code in the United States. Shortly after the development of his code, Dr. Nemeth joined the Department of Mathematics at the University of Detroit where he created a system of communicating mathematical formulas called MathSpeak. During this time, Nemeth received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Wayne State University.

In March 2009, Dr. Nemeth was awarded BANA's first ever Braille Excellence Award, given to people or organizations that have developed or contributed to a code, have developed code materials or software that supports codes, or represent the highest standards of braille production.

Abraham Nemeth's contributions have made math and science accessible for blind people around the world. BANA honors his life and celebrates his memory and his accomplishments.

 

 

Source for Computers

Submitted by Allan Peterson

 

Introducing Computers for the Blind (CFTB).

Who we are:

Computers for the Blind (CFTB) is a non-profit 501(c) 3 volunteer organization located in Richardson, TX.

 

What we do:

We provide accessible computers to persons who are blind and visually impaired so that they can have:

-The independent ability to conduct activities of daily living such as personal reading, management of finances, and maintenance of household records.

-Personal and private communications with friends, family, health care professionals and business associates.

-A virtual learning environment where information resources are just a finger-tip away.

-Improved employment opportunities through the development of knowledge, skills, and marketable abilities.

 

How we do it:

We collect donated laptop and desktop computers from businesses and individuals. Skilled volunteer computer technicians wipe them clean and install screen reader software (NVDA). Upon request we provide larger monitors and/or a trial version of Zoomtext. The full version is available at a significant discount. E-mail and word processor software are part of the software library along with simple accessible tutorials on how to operate the accessible software. We currently ship about 70 computers a month throughout the country and have already shipped over 6,000 computers. We ship a minimum Dual Core 1.8 GHz, with1.5 GB memory and 80 GB hard drive. Occasionally we are able to ship Pentium 4 3.0 GHz systems.

 

Who can get a computer:

Anyone with a visual impairment who is serious about using it and is willing to commit to the learning process.

These computers are ideal for persons who want/need a computer but the purchase of one through a state vocational rehabilitation agency is currently not available. We can partner together to meet the needs of your consumers/clients. Please consider referring us to someone who could benefit from one.

 

For general inquires or to request a computer, contact us at:

Computers for the Blind

214-340-6328

info@computersfortheblind.net

 

 

Visus Technology, The Power of Sight

 

Visus Technology, Inc. was founded to integrate and develop solutions to improve the quality-of-life for people with a wide range of vision impairment problems, from mild vision-loss and extending to complete blindness or no light perception. Potential customers are any people that could benefit from a mobile device for any basic life applications or to utilize voice and audio-based responses to navigate through all existing programs on any Android-based phone.

 

Visus has commercialized a novel system for identification of faces, expressions, or objects, navigation, or reading text in real-life situations. Several other established capabilities such as color identification, image magnification/enhancement, and money reading are extremely beneficial to the visually impaired and part of the Visus solution. These software solutions are available for implementation and delivery on any applicable mobile device or headset.

 

The Company intends on utilizing the direct sales channels of established corporate partners and will manage an existing channel to the low vision community. They will staff a sales and technical support team for the retail and low vision center sales. The immediately addressable market for Visus is 15 million users in the United States alone, with any level of mild to moderate visual impairment all the way to complete blindness or users that may benefit from one or more of our solutions.

 

For more information, please visit the Visus website at www.visustech.com

The Visus Technology Visual Assist System

 

 

 

 

 

 

iPhone Innovations

 

iPhone innovations have created a new way for the blind and visually impaired to “see.” In my recent interview with accessibility experts Victor Tsaran at PayPal and Ted Drake at Intuit INTU+0.85%, I saw how these technologies turn smartphones into powerful assistive devices that employ one physical sense to supplement or replace another.

 

Victor Tsaran, who is blind, shared that “there are about 650 million people with disabilities in the world, 50 million of whom are blind.” An accomplished composer, musician and software engineer, he spoke passionately about his own transformation through technology to overcome society’s stereotypes and assumptions about his abilities.

 

Touch screen technology has been a huge game changer for the blind and visually impaired. Accessibility software is a growing field which makes technology work for the disabled.

 

Design for accessibility is part of the larger field of human-computer interaction. Human-computer interaction is a hot topic in the tech community. Designing around how humans interact with machines is sparking new user interfaces that use movement, gestures and behaviors to trigger computer responses.

 

Ted Drake further explained how Intuit invests heavily in user testing to ensure that everyone can benefit from their products. For example, Intuit is working with non-profit My Blind Spot to make QuickBooks content accessible to the blind via screen readers which convert tactile commands into voice.

 

The power of accessibility software and other assistive technologies can turn a smartphone or computer into a disabled person’s eyes, ears, voice or whichever sense is needed to communicate and participate more fully in everyday life.

 

VoiceOver is one of Apple’s award-winning iOS assistive technologies. The gesture-based screen reader tells users which button or icon they have touched on the screen. A double tap on the icon then invokes the function. This helps blind or visually impaired users know what is happening on their devices to better control them.

 

Other innovations like Siri and Dictation help users type, read calendars and launch apps like Facebook FB+5.16% and Twitter.

 

A key point that Ted Drake made about expectations is that “when truly innovative products come out, it’s because” developers “didn’t really think about pre-conceived ideas. They didn’t say ‘well a blind person can’t use a phone that’s only glass, because there are no tactile buttons. They said here’s a glass surface. Let’s make it accessible….

 

Accessibility innovations have also led to using a smartphone’s camera to allow the blind and visually impaired to shop, count money and live independently in ways many of us take for granted.

 

Ted and Victor demonstrated some assistive apps written for the iPhone camera, which one might not think would be useful to a blind person. But Victor took a picture of a dollar bill, sent the image to a crowd sourced group of volunteers, like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Internet marketplace, and received an immediate answer through the iPhone’s VoiceOver.

 

He uses that capability when he shops in the grocery store, to ensure he gets the correct change at checkout.

 

Victor and Ted also demonstrated how the camera can identify the type of soup in a can of Campbell’s – it was tomato – and the color of a pair of socks – pink!

 

These demonstrations clearly show how a smartphone with accessibility software can open many avenues to help the blind and visually impaired be more included in everyday life.

 

As we had discussed at the Social Innovation Summit last May at the United Nations, assistive technology offers a powerful catalyst for innovation, because of the harder technical challenges that need to be overcome.

 

After talking with Victor Tsaran and Ted Drake, I am convinced that innovation without pre-conceived limitations for any user can lead to the most creative technologies of all.

 

Follow @JacquelnVanacek for how cloud, mobile, social media and big data are reinventing our world.

 

Note from the editor: The power of accessibility software in the iPhone 5  has turned the smartphone into eyes for me, allowing me to communicate and participate more fully in everyday life.

 

 

TapTapSee – Eyes for Me!

 

Those of us with sight loss are often unable to see what is surrounding us unless someone is with us to describe the scene. Well thanks to a new app available through the iTunes App Store, that is no longer the case.

 

TapTapSee is a free app that helps the blind and visually impaired identify their surroundings. As long as VoiceOver is enabled on the device, using this app is simple! Point the camera of your iPhone or iPad in the direction of what you are curious about and double tap the screen to take a picture. That picture is then sent out to a server where it is processed (this takes approximately 10 seconds) and given a tag.

That tag is then spoken back to the user through VoiceOver. If the user did not hear what was spoken there is a repeat button at the top of the screen that will repeat the tag. This app enables the camera of the device to be the eyes for someone who is visually impaired or blind.

 

TapTapSee also allows users to have photos from their Camera Roll sent to the server to be identified and the ability to share the photos taken.

 

Note from the editor: I downloaded this free app from the North Dakota Interagency Program for Assistive Technology website (IPAT) and it is amazing and very accurate! You can find the link for the download at http://ndipat.org/

 

Another very useable app is the Money Reader. I downloaded this from the iTunes App Store for $10. It is well worth the cost!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BARD Mobile

A service of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress

 

The BARD Mobile app provides access to braille and talking books directly from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD). BARD contains nearly 50,000 books, magazines, and music scores in audio and braille formats, with new selections added daily. With BARD Mobile, you can play the audio materials on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. If your device is connected to a refreshable braille display through Bluetooth, you can also read the braille materials available on BARD. Before you can use this BARD Mobile app, you must be registered with a braille and talking-book library in the NLS network of cooperating libraries. If you aren’t registered but think you qualify for this service because you cannot read regular print as a result of a visual or physical disability, locate your local library for the blind and physically handicapped at http://www.loc.gov/nls/find.html or call 1-800-NLS-READ to apply for service. Once you have an account, you are ready to begin using BARD Mobile. Download the free app and sign in with your BARD user name and password. You’ll only need to do this the first time you use the app. The app contains a user manual that you may access through the Help feature. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, administers the braille and talking-book program, a free library service available to residents of the United States and its territories and American citizens living abroad whose low vision, blindness, or physical disability makes reading regular print difficult. Through its national network of cooperating libraries, NLS mails digital audio players and books and magazines—in audio and in braille—directly to enrollees at no cost. Music instructional materials are available in large-print, braille, and recorded formats. Select materials are also available online for download.

 

For more information and the app download, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bard-mobile/id705229586?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D8

 

Note from the editor: I downloaded BARD Mobile on my iPhone before we left for Norway; it is an awesome app! I was able to read books of my choice, using commands as those on my digital audio player. If you’re not yet a BARD Mobile user yet, I encourage you to apply for service and GO FOR IT!

 

 

 

Software Technical Support

 

Microsoft has a new free program in which technicians fix computers for people with disabilities. You give permission for them to remote into your computer and they are able to make adjustments to settings. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. - midnight Eastern time on weekdays and 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. on weekends. The toll-free number to seek assistance is: (800) 936-5900

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Report - Fall 2013

By Allan Peterson

 

The news that’s dominating the legislative scene at this time is, of course, the fact that parts of our national government have been shut down due to an impasse over the federal budget. As a consequence of this shutdown, the appropriations that would provide operating money for federal services and programs that were deemed to be “non-essential” have been shut off. This impasse, as you are probably aware, is primarily due to the fundamental disagreement among our political leaders over the budget most notably funding for the Affordable Care Act or as some preferred to call it “Obama” Care.

 

However you may choose to view this impasse, there isn’t much argument that it is a high stakes game of “chicken” with our nation’s economy and the wellbeing of many people held in abeyance. I don’t want to be negative in expressing this opinion but I tend to agree with the viewpoint of political analysts who believe that the current state of divided government that has led to the impasse over spending and taxes unfortunately will be the norm for the foreseeable future.

 

Many of you I’m guessing wonder how the shutdown will affect those of us who receive benefits from the federal government, most particularly, Social Security. With those concerns in mind, I’ve copied a message from the Social Security Administration which reads as follows:

 

Unfortunately Congress did not pass a continuing resolution in time to avert a government shutdown.  Consequently we (Social Security) will be unable to deliver the full range of our services to the American public.  There are three important things I would like you to know and pass along to your constituents:

 

  1. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments will continue uninterrupted with no change in payment dates.
  2. Social Security field offices will remain open with limited services, and hearings offices will remain open to conduct hearings.
  3. Social Security card centers will be closed.
  4. You can find more detailed information about the impact of the government shutdown on our agency at: www.ssa.gov

 

Additionally, I’ve heard that medical insurance coverage from Medicare and Medicaid hasn’t been affected by the federal government shutdown. So, if you are a current recipient of either Medicare or Medicaid, the shutdown shouldn’t interrupt your health care coverage from these health care insurance providers.

 

At the state level, our North Dakota government offices are not affected by the federal shutdown, so the 8 human service centers are operating, even though some of the programs housed at the centers are funded by the federal government. Of importance to us, the Talking Book program is still providing its services even though much of the funding for the program itself comes from the federal government.

 

As you may well remember, the roots of this latest impasse over the federal budget goes back a ways. About a year ago, when the US House of Representatives and the President couldn’t reach an agreement on a budget resolution, they made a compact that if they couldn’t reach an agreement by March 1 of this year then automatic spending cuts would take effect. These automatic budget cuts are referred to as sequestration. As a consequence of sequestration, on March 1 the budget for some “non-essential” federal programs were already trimmed to meet their prior lower levels of funding.

 

The news about funding the federal government doesn’t get any better in the immediate future because the other crisis that’s looming on the horizon is the battle lines that are being drawn about raising the debt limit on the amount of money that the federal government is allowed to borrow so it can continue to operate. If Congress doesn’t agree to raise the debt limit by sometime around October 17, it said that the federal government could go into default. If that happens it could mean that the spending obligations of the federal government would go unpaid. And, unlike the shutdown, if a default were to happen this could potentially affect benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Just a bit scary don’t you think!

 

Although the fight over the Affordable Care Act continues, the major parts of the Act were instituted on October 1. Notably, one of the major parts of the Act that became effective as of October 1 is referred to as Medicaid Expansion which is a mechanism by which Medical Assistance will be provided to low income individuals between the ages of 18 and 64.  Under terms of the Act, individual states had to choose to take part in Medicaid expansion - which is what the North Dakota Legislative Assembly agreed to do during its most recent session. As a consequence, it’s expected that as many as 20,000 to 30,000 low-income North Dakotans will be affected by this change as it opens medical insurance coverage for income levels up to 133% of the federal poverty level.  In rough terms, that’s $15,282 for an individual and $31,322 for a family of four.

 

Prior to the current showdown over the federal budget, we became aware of a Senate bill that would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The bill number on this piece of legislation is S.1356. We have a number of concerns about this bill as its currently written, which I’ve described in a letter that was sent to both North Dakota US Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp. The text of that letter is copied and pasted into this report; the text of this letter reads as follows:

 

Our concerns and opposition to Senate Bill 1356 which seeks to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, including the Rehabilitation Act.  S. 1356 would move the administration of the Independent Living programs from the Rehabilitation Services Administration to a newly created Independent Living Administration. We believe that creation of this new administration will add significantly more costs, more governing complexity, and could seriously undermine the independent living program for the older blind—the fastest growing and most vulnerable group of people with blindness. S.1356 also proposes to move the Rehabilitation Services Administration from the Department of Education to the Department of Labor (DOL) and rename it the Disability Employment Services and Supports Administration (DESSA).   We believe that experience has demonstrated this WON’T be of any benefit to people with disabilities.  The employment programs administered by the Department of Labor have a very different focus that is short-term, from those that assist people with disabilities.  We have serious concerns with a clash of philosophies resulting in programs that harm people with the most significant disabilities—clientele that the Vocational Rehabilitation programs are supposed to serve first.

 

If S.  1356 were enacted, our state vocational rehabilitation agency will be responsible to report to the Independent Living Administration for the older blind program and to DESSA for the other programs it administers under the Rehabilitation Act.  Clearly this will result in unnecessary added administrative complexity and duplication in the fiscal and programmatic administration of the Programs. For these reasons, as it’s currently written, we believe s.1356 is misguided legislation and we urge you to vote against it. Your consideration of our position is greatly appreciated.

This then is the text of the letter that was sent. I do urge any of you to call the offices of both Senators Hoeven and Heitkamp to voice your opposition to S.1356. The more of you that they hear from, as their constituents, the better it is - it improves our chances that we will get their attention. Call Senator Hoeven’s Washington DC office at 202-224-2551  and Senator Heitkamp’s DC office at 202-224-2043; all you have to say when a receptionist answers the phone is that you wish the Senator to vote in opposition to S.1356 reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act.

 

In my opinion it’s unfortunate that most of the attention, time, and energy in our nation’s capital is currently being spent on what really amounts to as a manmade crisis because agreements on spending and taxes can’t be negotiated among our nation’s leaders who aren’t willing to compromise. All I can say in conclusion is that hopefully when it’s time to write the next legislative report for the Promoter, all or most of this man made crisis will be behind us.

 

 

Living Well With Low Vision

Prevent Blindness America Launches New Educational Program, “Living Well With Low Vision” - September 12, 2013 10:37 | Source: Prevent Blindness America

CHICAGO, ILL., Sept. 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

 

Almost 3 million Americans have low vision, according to the National Eye Institute. And, those numbers are expected to increase to more than 5 million by 2030 and close to 9 million by 2050. Low vision is defined as vision loss that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses, medicine or surgery. And, it may impact a person's ability to do everything from working, driving, reading, or even walking safely around the home. To directly address the needs of those with low vision and their caregivers, Prevent Blindness America has launched a new online resource: "Living Well with Low Vision," http://lowvision.preventblindness.org.

The goal of the new website is to make it as easy as possible for people to educate themselves about loss of vision, to meet the daily challenges resulting from it, and to continue to have a high quality of life. Living Well with Low Vision was specifically developed from the point of view of patients and patient advocates. The information on the site conveys the message that seniors experiencing vision loss are not alone, that other people have come through the experience with their independence and quality of life intact, and that adapting to vision loss is not an overwhelming, impossible task. Patient advocate and low vision educator Dan Roberts, M.M.E., serves as editor-in-chief for the online resource. This new site, which is designed with viewing accommodations for differing levels of vision loss, provides:

  • an extensive list of searchable low vision resource directories;
  • a database of 1,500 municipal paratransit services;
  • a library of self-help guides and workbooks for people living with low vision, as well as their caregivers; and
  • an up-to-the-minute blog with news and features of interest for people living with age-related eye disease and significant visual impairment.

 

"As our population ages and the national diabetes epidemic continues to skyrocket, the impact of low vision on patients and their families will increase tremendously," said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America.  "Through this new Living Well with Low Vision program, we can provide the public with the necessary resources to learn what low vision is, what to expect from the condition, and what tools are available to help limit the effects." For more information on Living Well with Low Vision, or other general eye health information, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020 or visit  preventblindness.org.

 

 

Boston Children’s Hospital Closer to Type 1 Cure

 

InsulinShotWe could be one step closer to understanding the cause and cure to type 1 diabetes. Today diabetes is affecting 215,000 people in the U.S., and the Boston Children’s Hospital believes they are on the brink of curing type 1 diabetes.

 

They’ve announced on their blog, that there is a possibility that they’ve found a way to treat diabetes without insulin shots by discovering the root cause of type 1 diabetes, the ATP/P2X7R pathway.

 

After studying hundreds of pathways in animals with diabetes, this particular pathway triggers the T-cell attacks on the pancreas, causing it unable to produce insulin.

 

“By identifying the ATP/P2X7R pathway as the early mechanism in the body that fired up an alloimmune response, we found the root cause of diabetes,” says Dr. Paolo Fiorina of the Nephrology Division at Boston Children’s Hospital. “With the cause identified, we can now focus on treatment options. Everything from drug therapies to transplants that require less immunosupression is being explored.”

 

We won’t have this cure tomorrow, but it’s not far-fetched to say it may be available in a few years so we can test possible therapies on children.

 

Fiorina hopes that not only will they find different way to manage diabetes for patients currently using insulin, but to possibly one day prevent the disease from developing in any more of our children in the future.

 

 

 

Lessons from Geese

Submitted by Michelle Zentz

 

Geese flying in a V formation have always been a welcome sign of spring as well as a sign that heralds the coming of winter. Not only is this a marvelous sight, but there are some remarkable lessons that we can learn from the flight of geese, because all that they do has significance-------

 

As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for others behind it. There is 71 percent more flying range in V-formation than flying alone.

Lesson: people who share common direction and sense of purpose can get there more quickly.

 

Whenever a goose flies out of formation, it feels drag and tries to get back into formation.

Lesson: It is harder to do something alone than together.

 

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies ahead.

Lesson: Shared leadership and interdependence gives us each a chance to lead as well as an opportunity to rest.

 

The geese flying in the rear of the formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson: Encouragement is motivating.  We need to make sure our “honking” is encouraging and not discouraging.

 

When a goose gets sick or wounded and falls, two geese fall out and stay with it until it revives or dies. Then they catch up or join another flock.

Lesson: We may all need help from time to time.  We should stand by our colleagues in difficult times.

--Angeles Arrien

 

 

Trek Down the Colorado River

Rockville, MD August 29, 2013

 

Disabled Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell made history last week, becoming the first completely blind solo kayaker to go down the entire length of the Grand Canyon. He achieved this feat when he completed his trek down the Colorado River supported by Team River Runner on Wednesday, August 21. Bedwell, a Navy Veteran from Dugger, Indiana, was guided by three military veterans from Team River Runner who relied only on a system of voice commands to navigate him through the entire trip, including the large, difficult Class V rapids. The 16-day journey was made possible thanks to the help of numerous volunteers and fellow veterans, as well as a generous grant from Check-6 Inc., a service disabled veteran owned company that focuses on safety and training in the energy industry.

 

By kayaking the entire 226-mile length of the Grand Canyon in a solo kayak, Bedwell not only made history, but he also fulfilled a dream he has long shared with Team River Runner Executive Director, Joe Mornini.

"Running the Grand Canyon was a dream for Joe and me, and now that dream has become a reality. I hope that other disabled persons will be able to share this feeling with me one day and achieve their dreams as well,” said Bedwell.

 

Mornini, who co-founded Team River Runner, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, in 2004 and currently serves as its Executive Director, praised the team effort that engendered this historic achievement and which continues to serve as the ethos of his organization. "No one goes down the Grand Canyon on the river and leaves the same way they entered.

Lonnie's three warrior guides, and the entire group of veterans and volunteers, formed a bond that enabled healing and empowerment for all, and a truly historic achievement as a team."

 

“Joe Mornini has opened the doors for warriors who were wounded to find life again on the water. He is a man of singular vision and energy who saw a need and focused his sites on helping wounded veterans get back in the game,” said Brian “Bru” Brurud, the founder of Check-6, Inc.

“Congratulations to Lonnie and Team River Runner on a job very well done!”

 

ABOUT TEAM RIVER RUNNER

Team River Runner (TRR) was established in August 2004 by kayakers in the Washington, DC area. Overseen by a Board of Directors, and with 10 employees, TRR remains primarily a volunteer-based organization, supported by grants, and corporate and individual donations. Initially established to help active duty military personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, TRR now serves veterans of all eras at over 40 chapters throughout the United States. For more information, visithttp://www.teamriverrunner.org.

 

 

Following Your Call

Reprinted with permission by Steve Goodier www.LifeSupportSystem.com

 

One man says it really happened. At the conclusion of his medical exam, the doctor asked him if he would please call in the next patient. So, he opened the waiting room door and called, "Mrs. Colchester, please." Then he left the doctor's office.

 

He had walked some distance along the street outside when he heard Mrs. Colchester's voice behind him, "Where are we going?"

 

She knew she was being called, but she misunderstood the intent. I wonder if she made it back in time for her appointment.

 

There are times I can relate to her. I, too, have experienced "callings" in my life, though mine have taken the form of callings to a certain vocation or a particular life-direction. And sometimes I've been confused about exactly where I am going when following that voice and just as uncertain about where I may end up.

 

It's an old-fashioned word, "calling." It can mean a profession or line of work. Or even a strong inner urge or impulse. In my case, callings have led me to dedicate myself to something I believed I was meant to do in life.

 

Oprah Winfrey says this about callings: "I've come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that's as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you."

 

It is a satisfying thing when we feel called to a worthy purpose. How beautiful (and how rare) it is to believe we are doing just the thing we're meant to do in this life. But is it realistic to think we must do THE ONE THING we were meant to do? How about doing ONE OF THE THINGS we are passionate about? Let me explain.

 

Consider a Swiss Army pocketknife. It is a multipurpose tool. It can cut, saw, file, snip and open up cans and jars. With it, one can turn a screw, pull out a splinter, pop the cork in a wine bottle and even pick one's teeth. (My advice: never leave home without one.)

 

You and I are more like Swiss Army knives than butter knives or steak knives. We can DO more than one thing. We can LOVE more than one thing. We can BE more than one thing. Likewise, we may be called to more than one thing.

 

Like Swiss Army knives, we have options. Ours is to discover those truly worthwhile things we feel led to do and be – things we love, that are life-affirming and deserve our best – and then to commit to them, to give ourselves over fully to them and pursue them with joy. That is what it means to be called. And that is how to make a life count.

 

But beware of this about callings: they may not lead us where we intended to go or even where we want to go. If we choose to follow, we may have to be willing to let go of the life we already planned and accept whatever is waiting for us. And if the calling is true, though we may not have gone where we intended, we will surely end up where we need to be.

 

It is like an adventure. Are you ready?

 

 

NDAB Leadership Roster

 

President:

Mark Kueffler, 1406 14 ½ Ave E, West Fargo ND  58078-3428, #866-9908

Vice President:

Zelda Gebhard, 8169 66th St SE, Edgeley ND  58433 #493-2399

Secretary:

Alexandra Engraf, 1303 8th St NW, Hettinger ND  58639 #206-1028

Treasurer:

Helen Baumgartner, 402 12th Ave NW, Mandan ND  58554 #663-8878

Past President:

Michelle Zentz, 1025 7th Ave S #5, Fargo ND  58103 #298-9105

Board of Directors: 

Donna Hepper, 1420 83rd St, Ft. Yates ND  58538 #854-7395

Paula Anundson, 151 S Central #206, Valley City ND  58072 #490-0888

Janelle Olson, 915 2nd Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #570-0801
Financial Chairperson:

Allan Peterson, 7009 Horseshoe Bend, Horace ND  58047 #282-4644

Legislative Liaison Chairpersons:

Allan Peterson, 7009 Horseshoe Bend, Horace ND  58047 #282-4644

Zelda Gebhard, 8169 66th St SE, Edgeley ND  58433 #493-2399
Co-Camp Directors: 

Loris Van Berkom, 604 8th Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #774-3399

Rick Feldman, 3301 Bohnet Blvd, Fargo ND  58102 #235-3293
Family Adjustment Seminar Chairperson:

Janelle Olson, 915 2nd Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #570-0801
Sports and Recreation Chairperson:

Dave Sundeen, 310 Dunsmoore Ave #1, Buxton ND  58218 #847-3139

Scholarship Committee Chairperson:

Tracy Wicken, 733 Dawn Circle, Grand Forks ND  58203 #772-7669

Historian:

Denise Kirsch, 1934 N 16th St Unit 3, Bismarck ND  58501 #223-8774

Publicity Chairperson:

Sherry DeFrancesco, 2307 10th St S, Fargo ND  58103 #540-6356

Local News Reporters:

Bismarck: Bob Vandal, 1311 N 3rd St, Bismarck ND  58501 #400-0109

Fargo: Shereen Faber, 3001 Madison Ave, Fargo ND  58102 #237-4589

Grand Forks: Angie Marciniak, 812 4th Ave S #103, Grand Forks ND 58201 #213-1826

Minot: Doug and Mary Stip, 813 Park St, Minot ND  58701-4551 #839-4128

Williston: Loris Van Berkom, 604 8th Ave W, Williston ND  58801 #774-3399

Promoter Editor:

Kathy Larson, 15225 59th St NW, Williston ND  58801-9560 #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 www.ndab.org